PSM seeks help from Privatisation Commission over land disputes with Sindh government

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ISLAMABAD: Finding no support from the provincial government of Sindh due to unavoidable circumstances, Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) has requested the Privatisation Commission (PC) to resolve the issue of the 1,800 acres of a land dispute with the provincial government.

A copy of a letter issued by the Finance Directorate of Pakistan Steel available with Pakistan Today disclosed that PSM Acting Chief Finance Officer Muhammad Arif Sheikh (FCA) has asked Privatisation Commission Director General Mukhtar Paras Shah for help in resolving the long outstanding issues of PSM land and related issues. “Your kind help is requested to resolve these long outstanding issues. Kindly take up above mentioned PSM land related issue with the government of Sindh as we are unable to get support from any department of government in this regard due to unavoidable circumstances.

Pakistan Steel Mills has over 19,013 acres land. 18,979 acres of land is situated in district Malir Karachi and district Thatta, province of Sindh. Two major bundles of land are 10,273 acres main plant and 8071-10 acres township land respectively. Similarly, 16,988-30 acres land is mutated in favour of PSM in a record of rights of Board of Revenue and about 16,955 acres mutated land is situated in Sindh province.

Sheikh in his letter also advocated that land surrendered by Port Qasim authority in favour of the PSM in the year 1974-75 and PSM Township was resumed by Sindh government in the year 2006 without the consent of PSM for the establishment of Higher Educational Institutions by HEC. “PSM is struggling for cancellation of resumption order & its re-mutation in favour of PSM,” the letter said.

Sheikh has also communicated that another piece of PSM Township paid/mutated land measuring 400 acres has also been resumed by Sindh government in the year 2006. Out of which 200 acres has been allotted for parking of oil tankers and remaining 200 acres has been illegally allotted to some individuals and builders. PSM is struggling for grant of equal land. He further said that about 244 acres PSM land is under encroachments. PSM has title free land as well as ownership rights. PSM management is also struggling for re-demarcation/fixation of the outer boundary of PSM Township land since 2011 to resolve demarcation dispute on about 178 acres PAM Township land but still unsuccessful due to some unknown/unavoidable circumstances, said Sheikh in the letter to Privatisation Commission DG.

It is worth mentioning that the central government was mulling to dole out pricy land near Karachi’s Bin Qasim Port for settlement of liabilities on the balance sheet of the sick unit (PSM). Also, the federal government has been making efforts to settle liabilities of the National Bank of Pakistan and the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited against its land and carving out a piece of land for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at rates questioned by many stakeholders, including former acting CEO who had to leave the job soon afterwards.

Reportedly, former acting CEO Mohsin Haqqani had earlier proposed that the land should be disposed of at market rate after proper valuation by an independent evaluator. He said in the last two years, the valuation of land in Karachi has appreciated due to improvement in law and order situation and various other factors such as it is the only industrial land available in Karachi connected with the port, national highway and railway network, its value is in the range of Rs 2.5 to Rs 4 crore per acre approximately.

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