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Saturday June 22, 2024

Mayor orders KMC not to demolish any beach hut

By Our Correspondent
May 29, 2024
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Mayor Murtaza Wahab addresses a press conference on December 31, 2023. — Facebook/Barrister Murtaza Wahab
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Mayor Murtaza Wahab addresses a press conference on December 31, 2023. — Facebook/Barrister Murtaza Wahab

Some people take lands and buildings from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and make them their property, and they do not think about the city, Mayor Murtaza Wahab said during a meeting with a delegation of the Beach House Owners Association (BHOA) on Tuesday.

Wahab said the KMC hands over its lands and buildings for various social and welfare purposes. He said the KMC is charging rent of beach huts at Hawke’s Bay at Rs16,000 a year. However, he pointed out, several huts are being operated on a commercial basis, for which the rent of a hut is charged at Rs300,000 to Rs400,000 a day.

The mayor said that on April 21, 2021, when the City Council increased the rents of these huts through a resolution, several tenants filed a case in court, and some people also obtained a stay order. “The rent of huts on the beach of an international city like Karachi was extremely low at Rs16,000 per year, as well as unfair, which has been increased.”

He said there are 267 huts of the KMC at the beach, while the tenants of 72 huts have approached the court regarding the increase in the yearly rent. If the tenants feel the increased rent is high, they can vacate the huts so that the KMC can hand them over to other tenants who are ready to pay the rent, he added. He pointed out that several hut tenants have not paid rent to the KMC since 2017.

He mentioned that after the construction of Mauripur Road and Kanupp Road, it has become very easy to reach these huts, and a large number of people go to the beach every day. The tenants of the huts should decide on their own whether they want to fight the case or resolve this problem through negotiations, he remarked. He said that in case of paying a lump sum rent from 2017 to June 30, 2024, the KMC can cooperate by giving a discount.

Any problem can be solved only through negotiations, he added. “It is a public place, and people can’t be prevented from going to these public places under any circumstances.” The mayor directed KMC Land Director Sabahul Islam to immediately issue rent challans and give notices to defaulters, but no disciplinary action, including the demolition of the huts, should be taken.

Wahab said the beach can be made profitable by making large-scale investments. He asked the BHOA to bring in their suggestions. If found viable, they would be encouraged and supported in every possible way, he vowed. He directed the KMC’s officers concerned that no injustice should be done to the hut owners, and no demolition work should be carried out on the huts at the beach. He, however, stressed that if the tenants of the huts do not pay the rent regularly, their allotment would be cancelled and disciplinary action would be taken.