Egypt s Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawi
The demolitions are part of ongoing third phase of the 19th wave of the campaign, in which 732 violation cases on state-owned agricultural lands covering 4,635 feddans have been also removed, Shaarawy said in the ministry’s statement.
The campaign is the result of the government’s directives to remove buildings encroaching on state and agricultural lands to preserve the rights of future generations to development, the statement said.
The ministry also noted that 85 buildings on private agricultural lands have been demolished during the same period on an area of more than 33,000 square metres, in addition to 653 cases of encroachment on an area of around 138,600 square metres.
El-Sharqiya governorate came first among the governorates in terms of violations with 1,234 building violations on an area of 173,000 square metres, while Beheira came second with 1,134 violations on an area of 107,000 square metres, and the third was Fayoum with 985 violations on an area of 59,000 square metres.
Egypt continues to crack down on illegal construction across cities and villages, a phenomena that has dramatically surged in recent years, with thousands of buildings demolished recently.
Prime Minister Madbouly has previously said Egypt has lost up to 400,000 feddans between 1980 to 2011, and an additional 90,000 over the past nine years. The cost of reclaiming one feddan is between EGP 150,000 and EGP 200,000, and that the reclamation of 90,000 feddans costs up to EGP 18 billion (about $1.15 billion), according to Madbouly.
In a new bid to put a brake on the decades-old issue, Madbouly directed officials in February to prepare a draft law to impose tougher penalties on violators, including confiscating the illegal buildings and imposing hefty fines, and halting the provision all forms of state subsidies to those constructing new buildings illegally on farmland.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi earlier proposed in September 2021 denying those who abuse agricultural lands access to government subsidies during an inauguration ceremony of a water treatment plant.