Encroachments around beautiful and attractive buildings in the country giving pessimistic impact to the tourists, as the encroachers have covered the area and it is difficult for the tourists to move around. The encroachers have also destroyed the original fabric of the historic sites in Pakistan and a there is a prime responsibility of the government to have a strict control over them and restore the government lands and buildings to the original shape.
Presently, the Government of Pakistan is fully active to destroy the encroachments in Pakistan. It is seemed that the Anti Encroachment Department of Karachi Port Trust as usual with full zeal conducted combined anti encroachment operations along with concerned departments, Machinery of Municipal Services, Civil Administration, Law Enforcement Agencies and showed dynamic performance.
The government officials state that the main objective of the government is to restore the real face of Pakistan and their real structure. It is reported that the encroachers have been given at least one week and then operation has started operation in the whole country.
The government has given first 100 days plan to the district administration aimed at opening new avenues for the common man. The government experts also recorded that the anti-encroachment drive would be a month-long operation, in which the permanent and temporary encroachments are being sealed or destroyed whereas notices have also been issued to all the encroachers (richest or poor) for removing encroachments on their own in order to avoid any financial loss, damage and disturbances.
Statistics showed that only in Karachi at least 1,450 shops located in four markets were demolished, causing a predicted loss of Rs 450 million to shopkeepers in the head of goods and furniture. It is also clearly mentioned in the government statement that the alternative place will be provided to those having rent agreement with the government departments. The departments also urged that they had engaged the protesting shopkeepers in talks that led to end of their sit-in, shopkeepers accused the authorities of violating an agreement reached during their meetings, which they were supposed to give time to remove their goods, furniture, from their shops.
Surprisingly, the government departments have conducted various operations whereas a few could not be done successfully because of lack of cooperation by the police, but now it is on the track as per the rules and regulations. According to the government statistics mostly illegal shops were established on the places where parks existed in the past. Statistics also showed that the park had been converted into a marriage lawn on political basis long time ago with some influential group in its charge.
It is importantly noted that after this operation successfully, city markets and all regions in Pakistan would be frequently visited and the staff concerned would conduct raids and will grab the culprits. The vendors who would be found selling their products while displaying on footpaths and different roads would be imposed fines with warnings. No one would be spared and cases would also be registered against the encroachers. On the other hand it is also recorded that the business community in Pakistan is happy with the removal of encroachments. Those unemployed as result of the operation will be given an alternative space in another market.
Truly speaking, in Pakistan encroachments have mainly disturbed two things parking problems and sewerage problems. Tallest buildings have been built on the sewerage lines that create the sewerage issue in Pakistan. The sweepers can’t totally resolve the sewerage/drainage issue because of these buildings. The buildings also have been built on illegal lands and the numbers of people are living there who have various cars which also create car parking problem. They also park their cars on the roads as well. The people are living on the illegal land in Pakistan which also creates the important issue which is water crisis as the increased water consumption during these days. According to the latest World Bank statistics, the shortage of houses in Pakistan is some 400,000 units a year, with a national deficit of some 10 million units, and 3.5 to 4.0 million in urban areas.
Measures for Karachi circular railway
The Pakistan Railways (PR) has started a grand operation for the removal of encroachments along both tracks of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR). Historically, KCR was commissioned during 1964, originally to assist employees of the Pakistan Railways travel between their jobs at and around the City and Cantonment railway stations and their residences in Karachi’s eastern neighborhoods.
Sources mentioned that KCR remained the public transport of choice for the people of Karachi till 1984 when the number of its trains was reduced. Causes for the move included lack of maintenance and repair, a yawning gap between growing expenditure because of higher fuel and operational costs and declining revenue because of subsidized tickets and the government’s inability to spend money on the improvement of tracks and stations. KCR finally shut down during 1999, forcing thousands of its daily users to travel by buses.
No doubt, the operations are being conducted by the authorities against those who have illegally grabbed the state land for the past many years. The government clearly mentioned in their statement that it will not take away anyone’s livelihood, it just wants to destroy the encroachments. If anyone takes the law into their hands the government will take action against them. I would like to mention that why we purchase illegal land from the sellers and build our homes and shops illegally? Why we think about encroachment? We should follow the rules and regulation in our country to become a successful nation in the world. But it is also appeal to the government and the concerned provincial departments that why they are allowing the encroachments at first and taking measures later, there should be strict law for both the encroachers and the persons on the helm of affairs.