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    Agriculture

    1,675 acres of govt-owned land grabbed in Nangarhar

    JALAL ABAD (PAN): More than 1,675 acres of government-owned land has been grabbed by powerful individuals in eastern Nangarhar province, official said on Monday.

    From Daronta dam, a 70-kilometre canal was constructed to irrigate the land belonging to the Nangarhar Valley Development Authority, Director Eng. Hakeem told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He said that 30,000 hectares of land, including 16,000 hectares owned by the government, are irrigated by the canal over the past 48 years, according to the director.

    "In the Ghaziabad area of Batikot district, three tribes have seized 1,000 acres of arable land of the authority," he said. However, the Land Protection Agency has been able to recover 500 acres.

    Eng. Hakeem said security forces had pulled down more than 100 houses and several shops that were illegally constructed over the state-owned land. Thirty land-grabbers were arrested.

    "Problems of the Valley Development Authority will remain unresolved as long as its land is not handed over to the Private Agriculture Enterprises. Grabbing this land means hampering the development of olive and other farms," said Prof. Saida Jan of the Nangarhar University.

    Also an agriculturist, he asked the authorities concerned to evolve a new mechanism to prevent the seizure of government-owned land.

    Governor Gul Agha Sherzai has established a police unit, which has recovered a lot of land, said his spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai. He asked residents of Surkh Rod, Behsud, Rodat, Ghanikhel, Batikot and Momand Dara districts to help the government against land mafia members.

    mas/mud