Anti-encroachment drive: Two labourers’ death sparks protest, disrupt traffic

Traders allege incident happened during operation in Sabzi Mandi; ICT administration denies charge

ICT administration carries out an anti-encroachment drive in Sabzi Mandi. PHOTO; WASEEM NAZIR/EXPRESS


An anti-encroachment drive in Sabzi Madi took an ugly turn on Thursday when two labourers were killed after they were accidentally electrocuted by electricity cables.

Islamabad Capital City (ICT) Administration and Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials carried out three separate operations against encroachments and illegal stalls and kiosks in different areas of the capital.

While the ICT Administration team was at work in Sabzi Mandi, live electricity cables fell on restaurant in the market and electrocuted two workers.

Traders alleged that the incident occurred during the operation, but city administration officials denied the allegation, saying it happened after the operation had finished.

The traders later blocked IJP Road in protest, disrupting traffic flow for almost five hours.

The protesters called off the sit-in after the city administration suspended ICT Market Committee Administrator Ghufran Shahzad, who was heading the operation.

“The ICT Market Committee conducted the operation after receiving complaints of illegal stalls operating there,” said Islamabad Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdus Sattar Esani. He claimed that the operation had nothing to do with the deaths, saying that dangling cables fell on a hotel when the operation had been completed.

Ashfaq Ahmad Abbasi, the general secretary of the local traders union, said the incident occurred when heavy machinery entered the market and the team tried to bulldoze a shutter outside hotel. “Heavy electrical cables passing over the hotel’s roof fell on the labourers,” Abbasi claimed.

He said that one laborer died on the spot while the other died at a hospital during treatment. He said that the Sabzi Mandi police had not yet registered an FIR regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, the CDA carried out an operation against small building material manufacturing factories on IJP Road.

“During the operation, the CDA enforcement staff demolished seven illegally-constructed rooms and dismantled fences, cemented pipes, tiles, roof slabs, and a tea stall,” CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said.

During the operation, some resistance was put up by encroachers, but no untoward incident occurred due to the police presence.

A large number of illegal factories are operating along IJP Road between Pindora Chungi and Pirwadahi Bus Stand.

Eateries inside Diplomatic Enclave sealed

A city administration team food safety inspection team raided cafes and restaurants in the Diplomatic Enclave on Thursday and sealed several Gloria Jeans, Street 1 Café, and Cordon Rouge for various infractions including selling substandard food items and for having unhygienic kitchen areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2016.


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