KARACHI: The Karachi Development Authority (KDA) has managed to retrieve only 1,569 amenity plots from land grabbers in the city, leaving over 33,400 recreational spaces under encroachment, The Express Tribune learnt on Friday.
This was disclosed in a report submitted by the KDA’s land director to the Supreme Court’s (SC) Karachi Registry ahead of the hearing of the case relating to illegal encroachments on amenity plots today (Saturday).
The director, Syed Arshad Abbas, said in compliance with the apex court’s orders passed in November last year, the KDA conducted an exercise to identify, cancel, resume and demolish encroached upon amenity plots in different townships schemes with the utmost diligence and accuracy as possible.
He said 1,569 amenity plots were retrieved via demolition operations against 239 houses, 509 structures, 204 boundary walls, 371 shops, 167 marriage halls, 12 hotels, four dispensaries/hospitals and 18 thallas (paved works).
The report stated that operations were also carried out at eight amenity plots illegally converted into commercial plots, 14 plots turned into warehouse, four offices, 12 farmhouses and seven illegal cattle pens.
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A breakup suggested that 189 operations were carried out in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Scheme 36, 22 in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Scheme 24, 274 in North Karachi, 847 in Surjani Town Scheme 41, 104 in Korangi, 43 in Landhi, 38 in Federal B Area Scheme 16, 22 in North Nazimabad, 28 in Malir and two in Shah Faisal Colony.
The director said the KDA teams faced were under threat during the exercise, adding that the authority’s director general was present at the sites during the drives.
Abbas said a summary, dated December 22, 2017, pertaining to removal of such encroachments was sent to the chief minister, however, despite the aid of the police and Rangers, the teams faced poor law and order conditions and numerous FIRs were registered against offenders.
The director said the KDA wrote letters to the Sindh Building Control Authority’s master plan department to verify of all the amenity and commercial plots and also demanded maps of the areas falling within the KDA’s jurisdiction. According to the department’s statement, there were 35,000 plots in 112 areas that had been encroached upon.
“However, the department failed to provide the required information within the stipulated time, due to which the operation was delayed,” Abbas said. “Nevertheless, the KDA time and again had meetings with respect to strict adherence of the SC orders,” he stated, adding that KDA officers had numerous meetings prior to and after removal of encroachments to review and discuss the anti-encroachment operation and necessary steps to be taken in order to carry out the drive.
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He submitted the minutes of the meeting to the court and requested to make them part of the compliance report. He maintained that each demolition activity was visually recorded and photographed.
The director informed the court that during the demolition activity the KDA DG had sent a summary to the CM and secretaries of the house, town planning and local government departments to initiate appropriate action against all officers or officials of the KDA involved in encroachments from 2013 till date, along with land grabbers.
“KDA has so far removed 1,569 encroachments all over Karachi and is still proceeding with the operations of removal of encroachments,” the report stated. “However, since the encroached upon plots are huge in number, the removal exercise will take time to complete, [approximately] at least six months from the date hereof.”