Lahore: Anti-encroachment drive: Some traders take the plunge
LAHORE, March 10: Scores of traders voluntarily pulled down permanent illegal structures on Thursday, a day before launch of an ‘indiscriminate’ operation against encroachments by the City District Government of Lahore.
Traders of Thokar Niaz Beg took the lead by pulling down on their own 100 or so small shops they had illegally set up, followed by their Bund Road fellows who demolished ramps and other structures from Chowk Yateem Khana to Sherakot like the shopkeepers of Fetehsher Road in Samanabad.
The number of movable encroachments at Hall Road, Old Anarkali, Wahdat Road, Mozang Main Bazaar and Lytton Road from Jain Mandir up to Qurtaba Chowk was less.
However, there was usual hustle and bustle at Shah Alam Market, Rang Mahal and other commercial areas inside Walled City, McLeod, Beadon and Cooper roads besides Ichhra Main Bazaar where traders were still optimistic about ‘escaping’ the operation like the ones in the past with the help of officials concerned.
District Coordination Officer Ahad Khan Cheema reiterated his resolve to secure right of way for everyone on a sustainable basis through an indiscriminate operation against encroachments being launched on Friday after the highest offices in the province have given commitment that there would be no interference.
“All members of the Punjab Assembly of Lahore besides representatives of trader bodies are on board. Comprising MPA of the area and town municipal officer (TMO) concerned, committees have been constituted at the town level.
Enforcement staff in all nine town municipal administrations (TMAs) of the CDGL had been rationalised and provided uniform and machinery to carry out operation and later prevent re-emergence of encroachments.
“Now every TMA has an enforcement staff of 60 to 70 people, including civil defence officials. Union council has been divided road-wise in four parts. Every official has been assigned a particular area and he would be responsible for removal and re-emergence of encroachments there.
“A deputy superintendent of police (DSP) of the TMA concerned town would accompany the anti-encroachment squad during the operation that would continue till all targeted encroachments are removed. A central cell has also been set up to monitor removal of encroachments,” he said before despatching vehicles and machinery to all the TMAs after inspection.
Mr Cheema said the merchandise of vendors would not be seized during the operation as had been the practice in the past. Vendors would be persuaded to sell their merchandise by remaining on the move instead of permanently standing at a particular place. Efforts were afoot to provide them alternative space near their present place of business, said the DCO.
However, belongings (of the traders) seized during anti–encroachment operations for the first time would be returned after a week; those seized for the second time would be confiscated, he added.