Powerful People Get Land Plots Instead of Teachers: MPs

A number of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) members claimed Wednesday that most of the land plots allocated for teachers have been usurped by powerful individuals.

The lawmakers raised the issue during Wednesday’s session where the Minister of Education Asadullah Hanif Balkhi told the MPs that about 80,000 land plots had been distributed to teachers – who recently went on strike in protest against poor salaries and failure to get the promised land.

According to the MPs, most of the plots earmarked for teachers had either been seized by the powerful individuals or were located on inaccessible hillsides.

“Most of the plots distributed for the teachers in Nangarhar are occupied by powerful people,” MP from Nangarhar Sayed Ikram told the House.

However, the education minister went on to say that the plots had been distributed to the teachers.

“Over the past few years, more than 80,000 plots have been distributed to the teachers,” Balkhi told the session.

But some other lawmakers accused some government authorities of confiscating land plots dedicated for teachers.

“The officials responsible for distributing land plots have mainly benefited from the land considered for the teachers,” female MP Fawzia Kofi said.

“Most of the plots distributed to teachers are in mountainous areas where there is no possibility of living,” House Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahim said.

Meanwhile, the officials from Afghanistan Land Authority also confirmed that land plots for teachers were being grabbed by powerful people.

“Most sections of 56 hectares of land allocated for the teachers have been seized by these opportunists,” head of Afghanistan Land Authority Ahmad Jawad Paikar said.

Meanwhile the teachers have still not ended their strike, which is now in its fourth week.

“We will continue our strike unless our demands are addressed,” a protesting teacher Shamsullah Haqqani said.

Dozens of teachers from around Kabul gathered earlier this month at Habibi High School, where the strike initially started – in protest over what they call President Ashraf Ghani’s failure to fulfill his promises to teachers.

Last year in a ceremony marking teacher’s day in Kabul, Ghani promised to increase the salaries of teachers and to allot each of them a piece of land within six months.

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