Anti-encroachment drive: Poor targeted, rich spared as CDA removes 500 illegal kiosks

Structures consisted of network of thatched kiosks selling fruits and vegetables.


Three teams comprising 50 enforcement personnel, a bulldozer and an excavator participated in the anti-encroachment campaign at the Pirwadhai area near IJP Road. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has cleared encroachments from the Pirwadhai area near IJP Road during a three-day operation this week.


CDA Enforcement Director Liaquat Abbasi said the civic agency removed around 500 illegal kiosks and roadside restaurants that had occupied the green belt between IJP Road and the service road.

Abbasi said that three teams comprising 50 enforcement personnel, a bulldozer and an excavator participated in the anti-encroachment campaign.

He said the encroaching structures, which consisted of a network of thatched kiosks selling fruits and vegetables, were originally removed on Monday.

However, some locals tried to reclaim their ground, forcing the CDA’s enforcement staff to return on Tuesday and tear some of the stalls down again, added Abbasi.

The staffers collected the destroyed bamboo and straw and set them on fire on Wednesday.



A senior CDA official requesting anonymity said the civic agency was going after marginalised people — who despite being on the fringes of society, are nevertheless guilty of encroachment — because they did not enjoy the patronage of the former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government any longer.

Some PPP leaders backed the allotment of these kiosks near Faizabad and Pirwadhai, the official alleged.

“The CDA is reclaiming encroached land from the poor,” said the official. “But the civic agency still does not dare touch the rich who are guilty of similar encroachments on CDA land.”

A CDA crackdown on the nonconforming use of residential buildings — business establishments are a common sight in many of the capital’s residential areas — which started towards the end of 2012 has lost steam. Several owners, whose houses were sealed, received stay orders from the courts.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.

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