The Karachi Municipal Corporation has begun removing debris from around the Empress Market in Saddar where over 1,000 shops have been razed to the ground in an anti-encroachment drive, Municipal Commissioner Saifur Rehman said on Tuesday.
Authorities in the metropolis had started the operation in the business hub of Karachi earlier this month in accordance with an order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. By Sunday, 1,043 illegal shops had been demolished. Shops located in a bird market, a cloth market and a dried fruit market were removed using heavy machinery.
The municipal commissioner said it could take the workers five to six days to clear over 100,000 tonnes of rubble from the site. He said the Empress Market was part of heritage and preserving it was their responsibility. He added that some repairmen had been contacted to repair the clock of the market.
A task force comprising KMC, anti-encroachment and police officials has been created to ensure encroachments do not resurface in the area. Affected shopkeepers protested against the move and also faced off with officials during the drive. They demanded compensation and an alternative piece of land.
Footpaths to be cleared as well
Mayor Wasim Akhtar said on Tuesday they had decided to take strict action against those who had illegally occupied roads and footpaths in the city. He said this while inaugurating different roads, from Peoples Chorwarngi to Allama Binori Town and from Tin Hatti to Martin Quarters. The mayor said the KMC had built these roads despite its limited resources. He appealed to the encroachers to remove their structures and goods on their own from roadsides and footpaths or else they would have to bear the brunt.