FIR registered against protesting farmers

Staff Reporter

The Ferozewala Police have registered an FIR against almost 90 farmers who staged a protest on the Kala Khatai Road against the Ravi Urban Development Authority.

RUDA is trying to acquire the land for the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project.

The farmers said that the authority offered them a rate of Rs200,000 per acre while an acre is estimated to cost Rs10 million. They even asked for clean water.

A video even showed unarmed farmers throwing chairs in anger during the protest.

The case registered by a RUDA employee said that 80 to 90 farmers surrounded him and other employees at 10am and attacked them after hurling abuses.

The FIR mentions the following sections of the PPC: 382: theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt, or restraint in order to the committing of the theft. 427: mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees. 506: punishment for criminal intimidation.

186: obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions. 147: punishment for rioting. 149: every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object.

On March 2, the Lahore High Court stopped the Punjab government from acquiring agricultural land for the River Ravi project.

The petition in the case has been filed by Hassan Ali Ranjha, a resident of T & T Abpara Housing Society. He asked for the government to take steps against smog and stop the ‘illegal construction’ along the river.

The Ravi Urban Development Authority has started “acquiring land without disclosing the public purpose and without seeking the environmental impact assessment of the project”, he said in the petition.

“Large swathes of agricultural land is likely to be gobbled up which would further hamper the biological diversity keeping in view Convention on Biological Diversity and public trust doctrine.”

The Punjab government should disclose the purpose of acquiring land and issue a notification under the Land Acquisition Act 1894.

The exercise of powers by the Ravi Urban Development Authority should be declared illegal and ultra vires, the petition argued.

On February 25, the court instructed the government to appoint an international consultant for the environmental assessment of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project.

Last month, the construction of the project was halted after the court said that the project has to be cleared by all environmental agencies.