LDA in action against land grabbers

The operation has been started in Johar Town, Sabzazar, Anarkali, Willingdon Road and Urdu Bazaar

Our Correspondent October 03, 2018
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) launched a massive anti-encroachment drive in provincial capital on Tuesday and started the operation by demolishing a furniture market belonged to a land grabber, Mansha Bomb, in Johar Town.

The authority launched the operation after the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) ordered Federal Ministry of Interior to place Mansha Bomb and his sons on the exit control list (ECL). A citizen moved the court that Mansha Bomb has illegally occupied his plots in Johar Town.

Talking about the drive, Provincial Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said that the government has initiated operation which will remain continued till the menace of encroachment and land grabbing is eliminated in the province. The government is committed to ensuring the writ of the law and no relaxation will be given to any one, he underlined.

Khan asked citizens to cooperate with authorities conducting operation against encroachments and avoid confrontation with anti-encroachment teams.

"The PTI government has started fulfilling its promises during its first month in power. We are  conducting across the board operation though some of the PTI's own voters are being affected from this anti-encroachment drive," he said. He pointed out that over 31,000 kanas of  land is illegally occupied in Lahore alone but previous government did not pay any attention to the issue. The PTI government has initiated indiscriminate operation and no political interference will be allowed, he said, adding that the government wanted to prove that law was supreme and equal for everyone.

On the first day of the anti-encroachment drive, the LDA conducted a joint operation in collaboration with the city police, Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA), Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), Punjab Forest Department, district and zone administrations and demolished over 25 furniture showrooms and shops and 20 commercial plots located on main PIA Road. By using heavy machinery, the authority destroyed concrete building and temporary structures while PHA gardeners planted plants in the ground.

Initially, some traders and shopkeepers tried to register their protest, but heavy police contingents controlled the situation. Police also arrested one person for creating hindrance in the government affairs.

LDA also demolished some illegally constructed shops at Anarkali Bazaar. During the anti-encroachment operation, the debris of a shop fell on a shopkeeper who was shifted to the Mayo Hospital.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, LDA spokesman said the authority has initiated one of the biggest anti-encroachment operations in the provincial metropolis. He highlighted that over 31,687 kanals of state land, 280 acres of the forest department's land, eight plots in the Walled City, 636 kanal land of LDA, and 32 plots worth Rs2 billion of the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL) will be recovered from the land grabbers. He pointed out that the forest department will plant over 50,000 plants on the retrieved land.

He said two special teams consisting of 40 members each have been made. The teams have been provided 20 trucks and two loaders to clear the debris. Fire brigades, ambulances and police contingents will also accompany the teams, he maintained.

LDA Director General Amna Imran Khan on Monday appointed a permanent Director Enforcement to make the operation successful. LDA Strategy Policy Unit Director Muhammad Saleem Ahmad has been transferred to the enforcement wing.

Lahore Deputy Commissioner Anwarul Haq told the media that both temporary and permanent illegal marketplaces were being removed. He said the government has ordered indiscriminate action in all areas of the city. The anti-encroachment operation has been started in Johar Town, Sabzazar, Anarkali, Willingdon Road and Urdu Bazaar. Earlier notices had been issued to illegal occupants and now the operation had been initiated, he added.


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