Public property: Permanent squad planned to remove encroachments

Complaints of re-encroachments came in soon after an operation in this regard ended.


Our Correspondent February 04, 2014
Complaints of re-encroachments came in soon after an operation in this regard ended.PHOTO:FILE

LAHORE:


As complaints of re-encroachment on several parts of the city started pouring in within days of an anti-encroachment operation, the city district government has started considering a plan to establish a permanent anti-encroachment squad, The Express Tribune has learnt.


The government had launched a crackdown on encroachments in the city last month. This was not the first time an anti-encroachment operation was launched. In fact, similar drives are conducted twice a year. However, the problem persists despite repeated campaigns against it.

The government has decided to not only fine the encroachers, but also the people facilitating them.

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Several town municipal officers have said that encroachments are facilitated and supported by shop keepers in every market. In a crackdown, only those conducting businesses on public land are fined, they said. Soon after such an operation ends, the encroachers set up business at new locations while shop keepers accommodate more vendors in front of their shops. These vendors pay these shop keepers rent, the TMOs said.

Staff Officer to the DCO Tariq Zaman said shop keepers caught facilitating encroachers will not be fined but their shops could also be sealed if required. He said there was legislation covering the matter.

District Coordination Officer Ahmad Javeed Qazi said the government was working on a proposal for a permanent squad. The proposal will be sent to the commissioner for approval in a week. He said the squad will work under the Anti-Encroachment Cell at the DCO office.

The DCO said the government had directed all town administrators to paint the trucks for the campaign and provide uniforms to the personnel participating in the campaign. He also directed the TMOs to maintain an inventory register of confiscated goods.

A warehouse will also be established in each town, he said. “The thumb impression of shop keepers, whose goods have been confiscated, will be obtained at a computer centre in each warehouse,” he said.

The DCO said a control room will be established at the DCO’s office for quick response to complaints in the matter. “Every inch of public property will be retrieved from land grabbers,” he said. “Operations in this regard were being conducted every day.”

For the purpose of anti-encroachment operations, the city will be divided into three zones. Each zone, comprising three towns, will be headed by an assistant commissioner.

Shalimar Town, Wagha Town and Aziz Bhati Town will be in one zone, Ravi Town, Data Ganj Baksh Town and Samnabad Town in the second and Gulberg Town, Nishter Town and Iqbal Town in the third.

The squad will have a truck and six personnel per shift for each zone. The teams will counter check the operations on main roads and markets in their areas. The operations in each town will be headed by the relevant TMO who will report to the staff officer to DCO.

TMOs have been directed to continue the operation until the squad is established.

Evacuation

The district administration evacuated a five-kanal plot worth Rs200 million at the Lorry Adda on Sunday. Umair Khan had illegally occupied the land for several years.  The Lorry Adda district officer, policemen and Ravi Town administrator also demolished several hotels, service stations, a parking lot and shops constructed on the land. The DCO supervised the operation.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2014.

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