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Land usurpation still a challenge

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Land usurpation still a challenge
 Two years ago, in 2015, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, during his visit to the country’s eastern zone, ordered provincial authorities to prevent land-grabbing and bring the perpetrators to justice, every where they found, particularly in Nangarhar province.
The president also ordered that land grabbers should be dragged to court in the province, where high level cases of government land-usurpation are being reported.
Although, the provincial administration launching campaigns for prevention of land-usurpation, detaining some individuals on the charge, a media reported, but large areas of the government-owned lands are still possessed by the powerful men and the big usurpers over the past two years. 
According to reports, thousands of acres of the state owned lands have been usurped, and among hundreds of criminal cases registered in the Nangarhar courts, during the last couple of years, no cases were found to be related to land-grabbers.
Civil society organizations, provincial council members and the general public slam provincial government for failing to enforce the order of the presidential office against usurpers, who have so far illegally occupied around 150,000 acres of state land and thousands of acres of the public properties, in the province.
According to the report, 137,928 acres of land has been grabbed by 1,106 people in some districts of the province, respectively such as Lalpura, Momand Dara, Kot, Ghanikhel, Haska Mina, Kama, Dur Baba, Surkhrod, Chaparhar, Hesarak. 
Although, local administration has claimed that it arrested hundreds of land-grabbers and returned large areas of government properties, but ordinary people rejecting it as baseless, say ‘the number are still at large.’
The move by the provincial administration appears to be symbolic as no local official has been reported to take the measure to look who is the big land grabber or which one should legally be arrested, under the president ordered two years ago.
Some people in the province have to have a shelter, so alongside the big land grabbers, they have also occupied some less than one acre of land to build house, as the government yet to provide all countrymen with shelter all over the country. And a merely launched symbolic campaign has only led to arrest of individuals like them, not those big usurpers claimed thousands of acres of land in the province.
The president’s instructions, despite his strict order, has not been still enforced and anything done in the province, was only cosmetic measure and local government had not still initiated any step to how detain big land-grabbers in the county’s eastern great port city.
This is not insufficient and would lay no effective impact on the process of recovering state-owned lands, to only step up in arresting poor and helpless people who have only built on less than half an acre, while the big grabbers are still at large.
This means that provincial officials have hand with land mafia at usurping public properties and government lands.
Powerful figures, former jihadi commanders and officials are undeniably members of land mafia and they strongly support other usurpers.
The government should also follow if it order was enforced, and investigate into the officials’ activities in the provincial level and capital Kabul.