FAISALABAD-Dozens of Kohinoor flats residents protested against the decision of the Punjab Workers Welfare Board (PWWB) to “snatch” homes from hundreds of labourers living in 512 flats.

The flats were constructed in late 70s during the rule of PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The Punjab Workers Welfare Board has issued a letter to divisional commissioner and the Faisalabad district administration to get possession of 512 Kohinoor flats from the residents after proper settlement and meeting.

It was also directed in the said letter that compensation of Rs1 million may be given to four residents of Kohinoor flats that had paid amount while Rs0.5 million to be paid to the rest of residents. Kohinoor flats were constructed for labourers during the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. These flats are located at Jaranwala and Susan road, posh areas of Faisalabad city. These are in dilapidated and shaggy condition now.

The residents of these flats have been demanding early solution to the poor sewerage system and other problems. A large number of poor residents told this scribe that the main problem for the residents was poor sewerage system as water enters the base of the flats due to which its building was getting weaker day by day.

Nevertheless, the ruling PML-N is not willing to make dozens of residents of Kohinoor flats homeless as most of the people support the party. MNA Mian Abdul Manan of ruling party some months earlier, when Punjab government and district administration was ready to demolish Kohinoor flats after declaring it most dangerous, met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at PM house Islamabad and informed him about the residents’ problems.

However after a meeting with the PM regarding the Kohinoor flat issue, Mian Abdul Manan staged a public procession at Kohinoor flats and disclosed that not a single resident of Kohinoor flat would be made homeless. The PM has promised to issue special funds for the rehabilitation of the flats, he added.

The issue of demolishing Kohinoor flats was stopped after the statement of ruling party MNA but last week Punjab Workers Welfare Board once again issued a letter to demolish Kohinoor flats. Resultantly, many of the labour unions had also started protesting against the decision. They alleged that Faisalabad is a city of labourers due to strong network of textile industry here but all the government departments established for the welfare of labourers were just providing relief to the industrialists after getting bribe.

They further alleged that the government departments were not providing facilities and benefits for the labourers as per the decisions of provincial and federal governments. They said that social security registration was not yet provided for the labourers despite protests.

The flats residents and other labour union representatives have demanded rehabilitation of the flats as per the decision of PM Nawaz Sharif so that no poor labourer gets homeless. They threatened that they would not accept the compensation money at any cost as they want rehabilitation and solution to their problems.