Ministries of Finance and Railways, on Tuesday, agreed to appoint State Bank of Pakistan as an independent evaluator for the Railways properties in Chaman (6.03 acres) which was transferred to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
The agreement was finalized by the Senate Standing Committee on Railways which met with Fateh Muhammad Muhammad Hassani in the chair.
Ministry of Railways has claimed an amount of Rs. 13.828 billion as cost of land and arrears of occupational charges, including interest from January 1st 1972 to December 31st 2011, as per following break up;
- Cost of property/land – Rs. 5.258 billion and
- Occupational charges including interest – Rs 8.233 billion.
Secretary Finance Division, Shahid Mehmood, said that the Division agreed to pay the value of the properties i.e. cost of the property only, rather than arrears of occupational charges and interest. Also, the payment of properties only qualifies after their valuation by independent evaluators.
Earlier, Finance Division conveyed to Pakistan Railways and other stakeholders that the value of the properties shall be paid to them whenever the balance amount of $800 million, pending on part of Etisalat, is received by Government of Pakistan.
In order to resolve the issue a meeting was held in the Finance Division on 20-12-2017. AFS (CF) chaired the meeting while representatives of SBP, M/o Railways and EAD attended the same. The participants agreed that the cost of the property amounting to Rs. 5.258 billion is very high.
The chairperson clearly said that Finance Division stands by its commitment of paying only the cost of Chaman property; however, the price needs to be determined by independent evaluators. Finance Division shall not pay the cost of occupational charges, interest or any other charges of Chaman property.
Accordingly, M/o Railways was asked to provide the report of independent evaluators and to submit a revised claim. Finance Division is committed to provide the cost of the property when the subject report is received. The Railways Ministry agreed and proposed SBP as the independent evaluator.
The committee directed the concerned ministries/division to report both the Deputy Commissioner as well as the rate to be finalized by the SBP within two weeks.
The committee also discussed the railways land under illegal occupation across the country in the light of decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and steps taken by the provincial governments for its vacation.
Railways Ministry informed that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are progressing on the issue; however, Sindh and Punjab have not cooperated so far.
The committee decided to invite Attorney General and Secretary Law and all the Chief Secretaries in the next meeting, seek their guidance in implementation of the apex court.
Senior Member Revenue Punjab and other officials briefed the regarding the land occupied by the Shalimar Hospital and land transferred to DHA Bahawalpur, but failed to satisfy it with respect to their ownership claims on the land.
The committee directed both sides to come up with full preparations and required documents in the next meeting where final decision with respect to the land ownership would be taken.