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 August 12, 2017



With the inauguration of the Lowari tunnel demands of land price increased

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: With the inauguration of the much-awaited Lowari tunnel on 20th July last after its completion, the demand of land has registered an exponential increase entailing its prices exorbitantly.

A number of property dealers observed that the process of upward jump of landed property had set right from the year 2005 when work was started on the construction of the tunnel and the progression is heading to its zenith when it stands completed which gives an all weather route to the district.

Shaheen Shah, one of the property dealers told Chitral Times  that that the price of piece of land measuring one chukorum (a local unit measuring 11664 square feet) in the core area of Chitral town was about 8 lakh rupees before 2005 but it is almost twelve times at present which is above Rs. 12 million.

He said that most of the prospective purchasers of land are non-locals and basically it is they who have caused the phenomenal increase of  the prices as they competed with each other and bid higher and higher for the piece of land.

“Such is the case with the demand and prices of the landed property in different road-side villages of Chitral including the major towns of Drosh, Booni, Garam Chashma, Mastuj and Ayun”, he said adding that all these areas have recorded more than 10 times price hike during the past twelve years.

He observed that more than 80 percent of his clients were non-locals coming elsewhere from the parts of the country but majority of them belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while the people of Punjab ranked second.

Giving some reasons of the growing prices of land in Chitral, Abdul Ghafar, another prorperity dealer, said that with the construction of Lowari tunnel, there were bright prospects of its being conversion into a business hub due to its connection with the central Asian republics through the Wakhan corridors of Afghanistan.

“The possibility of making Chitral the alternate route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has worked as catalyst to raise the prices of landed property as the businessmen foresee a bright future of the area where prices of landed property will increase exponentially”, he said.

Giving yet another reason of the escalating prices of landed property here, he said that the people in the upper and remote parts of Chitral prefer to settle here to avail the civic amenities here and they rush here as and when they become able to afford it.

The local people are apprehensive of the situation and social awareness is in the formation process to preach the local people not to sell their landed property to the non-locals but it is yet to get momentum of popularity.

MPA from Chitral, Syed Sardar Hussain Shah said that as per constitution of the land, no person can be debarred from purchasing a moveable and immoveable property in any part of the country living with the ambit of law and as such the process of purchase of land by the non-locals in Chitral cannot be stopped by law.

He said that the land owners cannot resist the temptation of exorbitant prices being offered by the purchasers and many efforts of the local people have ended in failure to restrain him from selling his land.

Mr. Shah said that if a popular movement is launched like the one in Hunza of Gilgit-Baltistan, the trend of selling of land can be arrested effectively where a social taboo has been imposed on this practice and no outsider can purchase land although he can take it on rent only for a limited period.

He was of the view that local legislation by the local government regarding the utilization of land which can put in place a better system governing the sale and leasing of land in the prospective commercial places.



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