Nisar asks capital administration to take over Sabzi Mandi

Published April 10, 2014
Relatives of victims cry at Pims on Wednesday.—White Star
Relatives of victims cry at Pims on Wednesday.—White Star

ISLAMABAD: Despite the fact that rules do not exist, the interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, on Wednesday directed the Islamabad administration to take control of I-11 Fruit and Vegetable Market.

At present, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) runs the civic affairs of the market.

He was chairing a high-level meeting after the vegetable market bomb blast where the officials of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration could not tell the minister that unless rules were not notified they could not take over the market.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Mujahid Sherdil, told Dawn that ICT had no authority to manage Fruit and Vegetable Market as long as the rules under the Agricultural Produce and Markets Ordinance (APMO) 2002 were not notified.

Incidentally, the rules were sent to the interior ministry in November last year on the orders of the Islamabad High Court in vegetable market extortion case and the interior ministry has been sitting on them since then.

In a joint response to a writ petition in the IHC, police, CDA and the ICT said after the bomb blast in 2001, a meeting decided to hand over the control of market to the ICT.

It was also decided that the magistrate saddar would be administrator of the Islamabad fruit and vegetable market.

In this regard, the ICT framed Agricultural Produce and Markets Ordinance (APMO) in 2002, giving managerial control of fruits and vegetable market to Chief Commissioner Islamabad, they said.

Currently, neither the CDA nor the Islamabad administration holds control over vegetable market, APMO 2002 rules, which are lying with the interior ministry, have not been notified as yet.

Without the managerial control of any authority over the Fruit and Vegetable Market, nobody can collect the licence fees from the traders and nor can levy official charges on the daily venders.

In the absence of market committee and an administrator, there is no check on the local staff of the CDA, the ICT and the police who collect their shares from the market.

Las year when extortion cases came to the surface, a joint investigation team (JIT) of the Islamabad Police had confirmed that their own officials were involved in extortion activities.

It had said that two gangs backed by police officials were extorting traders and vendors in the fruit and vegetable market.

The report, based on over 100 affidavits from vendors and shopkeepers, had been submitted before the Anti Terrorism Court (ATC).

The police had arrested 18 accused including four police officials on charges of collecting extortion.

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