KARACHI: Over 100 illegally constructed shops were demolished and hundreds of stalls removed from footpaths and pavements in Saddar on Monday as local and municipal administrations jointly launched a massive anti-encroachment operation in the vicinity, witnesses and officials said.
The operation launched jointly by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and city administration on the directive of the Supreme Court of Pakistan will continue till the removal of all encroachments in Saddar.
The apex court had asked the authorities concerned to make Saddar an “encroachment-free” zone before the action was initiated across the city.
Sources said that staff of the KMC on Monday removed more than 100 concrete shops, hundreds of pushcarts and stalls from pavements in Saddar and surrounding area and deposited seized items in the KMC store.
The drive will continue till Saddar, Empress Market are encroachment-free, says mayor
They said that the action was taken on Daudpota Road, Zaibunnisa Street, Mansfield Street, Passport Office, New Preedy Street, Empress Market and near Regal Chowk and Naveed Clinic by the KMC officials with the help of district administration, Rangers, police, cantonment board Karachi, Solid Waste Management Board, Sui Southern Gas Company and K-Electric.
The sources said that four teams were formed and each one comprised of officials from the KMC’s anti-encroachment department, district administration, Rangers, police and other government bodies.
Talking to media, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said that action against encroachments in the most important commercial area of Saddar would continue till Saddar and Empress Market were encroachment-free.
“Citizens of Karachi will soon see the Saddar area in its original shape and get rid of the trouble and problems being faced by them due to encroachments in Saddar and adjoining areas,” he added.
Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saif-ur-Rehman, who supervised the operation, told Dawn that the KMC staff reached Saddar around 11am along with necessary gear and demolished several illegally constructed concrete shops in different lanes and removed hundreds of encroachments.
Over 500 KMC workers, who had brought with them heavy machinery and vehicles, including 50 trucks, carried out the first phase of the operation smoothly without facing any resistance as heavy contingents of paramilitary Rangers and district police remained on the scene.
The sources said that encroachments in and around the iconic Empress Market would be removed on Tuesday during the second phase of the operation.
The sources said that most of the vendors and stall owners had already removed their goods from the pavements because the KMC had earlier informed them of the action through banners and pamphlets.
However at some places the affected persons took to the streets, blocked roads and set alight tyres.
Four persons were arrested during the anti-encroachment operation.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018