LAHORE: To make nine major roads encroachment-free, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) on Monday launched a mega operation in Johar Town and sealed several premises, including seven branches of commercial banks.

According to officials, the LDA teams, along with the police, sealed four restaurants, and 20 food points on Abdul Haq Road (Johar Town’s G-1 market road). Also, 60 premises, including shops and buildings, were sealed for creating encroachments that caused traffic congestion and public inconvenience.

The teams also dismantled extended shades and floors besides confiscating other moveable items such as chairs, tables, boards, and tents.

In the first phase, Abdul Haq Road and Iqbal Town’s main boulevard (from Bhekaywal Morr to Scheme Morr) will be made model roads. In phase 2, the remaining seven major roads will be cleared of such obstacles, a senior official told Dawn.

It merits mentioning that the anti-encroachment operations were launched last month vigorously following the orders of the Lahore High Court on a writ petition, seeking measures by the government to control pollution and smog. Before the launch of operations letters were written to the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency and the Lahore Parking Company to make efforts to end on-street parking, which, according to the court’s directions, should not be allowed since it is also one of the main hurdles to the smooth flow of traffic.

According to the LDA, a citizen had filed a writ petition in the LHC against a surge in smog, pollution, and other urban problems affecting the health of the public. The petitioner also sought a remedy from the court under the constitution and requested it to direct the LDA and other civic agencies to take action.

Accepting the petition, the LHC ordered the LDA to launch an operation for clearing encroachments from the roads.

The action includes demolition of the extended portions of the premises, sealing of the premises, disconnection of utility services, imposition of fines and other major penalties, and lodging of FIRs against those involved in contributing to smog, pollution, and other issues.

The roads, which are to be made model roads/areas, include Gulberg (Zahoor Elahi Road and link road namely Hali Road and MM Alam Road), Mustafa Town (main road starting from Wahdat Road), Jubilee Town (main road starting from Link Canal Road), LDA Avenue-1 (main road starting from Jail Road), Garden Town (from Kalma Chowk to Faisal Town), Township (Khokhar Chowk to Hamdard Chowk), Johar Town (Doctors Hospital to Expo centre via Khokhar chowk) and Allama Iqbal Town (Bhekaywal Morr to Scheme Morr via Dubai Chowk).

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2023

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