Protest over blocking of route to village by sports board.

BAHAWALNAGAR -- Scores of residents demonstrated on Monday against the Punjab Sports Board (PSB) and revenue authorities for obstructing the only route to Saroopa village across the Minchinabad Sports Complex (MSC).

They accused the officials of modifying the approved map illegally.

Protesters demanded the chief secretary to move the investigation out of the district, citing the appointment of the additional deputy commissioner of revenue (ADCR) as the inquiry officer, against whom they have filed a writ petition for his alleged involvement in changing the map.

Protest leader Syed Athar Ali told Dawn that in 2021, they sold their 79 kanals in Mauza Ganeshpura to the PSB with an agreement that the path leading to the village from the purchased land would be maintained and the PBS would also construct a 30-foot wide paved road.

A six-member committee of revenue and PSB officials approved the map on Oct 26, 2021, for the MSC with a route to the village, and the owners handed over the land to the PSB on Jan 20, 2022.

In February 2021, Rs99 million were released to the department, however, the authorities released Rs27 million to the landowners at the end of August 2022, when the construction work of the MSC was almost complete, they added.

The district sports officer (DSO) and divisional sports officer allegedly threatened to shut the path unless landowners paid Rs2.6 million to them as bribe.

The Minchinabad AC transferred the ownership of the village route, which was earlier declared a public route in documents and on the map too, to the PSB on Oct 11, 2022.

When they filed a writ petition against the PSB and the revenue officials on Nov 1, 2022, the DSO altered the map on Nov 18, 2022, despite the matter being in court, they added.

Furthermore, when the court took notice of the matter in their contempt of court petition filed against the ADCR and other officials and directed the DC to investigate...

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