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Anti-encroachment drive to continue till objectives achieved, says mayor

By Mobarik A Virk
April 20, 2017

Islamabad

The Enforcement Directorate of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) seems to have become serious in its campaign against the encroachments in city’s shopping centres and bazaars.

The massive anti-encroachment operation launched in Aabpara market was something hard to believe. But the CDA, for the first time in its history, succeeded in accomplishing what it aspired for in this oldest and, probably, the busiest bazaars of the federal capital.

However, the main issue is whether this anti-encroachment campaign will sustain? Or, these encroachers and squatters will return with the passage of time?

The Chairman CDA, who also is the elected Mayor of Islamabad, Sheikh Anser Aziz, claims that these anti-encroachment operations have been successfully completed in at least 50 per cent of city’s shopping centres and bazaars.

Talking to The News Wednesday afternoon, Sheikh Anser Aziz said that there would be no compromise on this issue. Last time we saw CDA embarking upon such a large scale anti-encroachment operation was back in late 1990s, probably in 1997 or 1998 when some major structures were demolished and a large number of encroachments were removed from the city markets, bazaars and shopping centres.

The CDA Chairman told The News that since the launch of the operation, he personally has been visiting these markets, bazaars and shopping centres.

“What I have done is that this time we have put a preventive system in place. We have deployed teams which constantly monitor the situation and take swift action against any attempt by the encroachers and squatters to return to these places,” Sheikh Anser Aziz said.

He said that the shortage of staff is a serious hurdle in way of not only conducting these operations but to take preventive measures against recurrence as well.

“Despite non-availability of enough manpower, we have started an evening shift in the Enforcement Directorate. The objective is to keep a constant monitoring system in place to prevent recurrence of the situation,” the CDA Chairman said.

He said that successful anti-encroachment operations have been conducted already in most of the major markets like Aabpara, Supper Market, Jinnah Super Market, Karachi Company, Peshawar Mor, F-8 and F-10 Markaz.

“Soon we will be moving to the Blue Area where advance notices and warnings have already been issued,” he said.

He conceded that this operation is not a pleasant exercise. “We know that this has badly hurt a large number of individuals and their families as for many of these people, their businesses were the lone source of income to support their families. But at the same time the CDA has a civic duty and responsibility to maintain some sort of order, maintain cleanliness and ensure comfort for the bazaar goers,” he said.

“We have launched this operation after holding consultations with the representatives of the traders community as well as the elected representatives of the Union Councils. They have supported us and that is one big reason that this time this operation is continuing so successfully,” the CDA chairman said.