President orders enquiry against NHA officials over non-payment of land-acquisition compensation to affectees in Surab, Balochistan

Islamabad : President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed displeasure over the non-payment of compensation for four years to 23 affectees of land acquisition in Surab, Balochistan, and upheld the orders of the Wafaqi Mohtasib (WM) directing the National Highway Authority (NHA) to conduct an enquiry against the officers/officials who were responsible for the delay and submit compliance report within 30 days of the receipt of the order. He further directed that it was incumbent upon NHA to appear and explain its position in the implementation proceedings as to why the orders of the Mohtasib had not been complied with.

The President gave this decision while deciding on a case where residents of Surab, Balochistan had approached WM and alleged that NHA had acquired their agricultural land through the Deputy Commissioner about four years ago for the construction of a road. They had further complained that the road had been completed but they still had not been paid the compensation amount for their lands. They had requested NHA for compensation but to no avail, after which, they took up the matter with the Mohtasib, who gave the orders in their favour. NHA then filed a representation with the President against the orders of the Mohtasib.

The President rejected NHA’s representation and stated that the negligence of NHA was quite clear as it had caused a delay in payment and was responsible for managing funds and making payments to the affectees at the earliest. He noted that NHA initiated the case for approval of ECNEC after a delay of four years and did not follow the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The Act provides that the Agency is under a legal obligation to deposit the compensation funds before the Deputy Commissioner/Collector, who will be responsible to complete the land acquisition proceedings and pay the compensation amongst affectees.

The President held that NHA had failed to make payment for all necessary damages done during the acquisition of the land, and had initiated the case after a delay of four years after the complaints were launched, which was tantamount to maladministration on the part of NHA.

The President, therefore, declared the representation as “thoroughly misconceived”, and rejected the representation.