RAWALPINDI: Rising volume of cars and a collusion between encroachment mafia and officials have made life difficult for commuters.
According to the Excise and Taxation Department, as many as 1.14 million large and small vehicles have been registered in the garrison city until February 28, 2018. Officials believe there are a further 570,000 unregistered vehicles plying in the city.
Of these, there are 904,400 petrol-driven cars registered in the city, 37,969 diesel-fuelled cars, and 33,586 compressed natural gas (CNG) cars. There are a further 775,900 motorbikes registered in the city.
But with the city and the provincial government failing to build new roads or expanding existing roads, there is little space for these cars to go.
To make matters worse, encroachment in key markets have further reduced the space for these vehicles to ply in.
The anti-encroachment staff in collusion with the encroachment mafia has set up a nexus whereby sites are given out on ‘monthly rent’ worth millions at 12 business centres within the jurisdiction of the Chaklala Cantonment Board.
Previously anti-encroachment staff used to raid these centres and confiscates items from encroachers. These items were later sold in a public auction at a store near Chaklala Scheme 3 Water Tank. This process not only dissuaded encroachers apart from raising money for the government.
However, this practice has been discontinued for quite some time now.
Now, any confiscated items are allegedly sold off by staff at the stores using their own registers.
The anti-encroachment officials usually start their “recovery” towards the last week of each month.
Instead of removing stalls on footpaths, these stall owners get off by paying officials.
This practice not only creates traffic issues but also cause problems for those on foot. It is also contributing to a worsening security issue.
These encroachments can be found at Chowrangi no 22, Dhairi Hassanabad Juma Bazaar site, Lala Zar Tilsa road, the front of Usmania restaurant.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2018.
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