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August 30, 2018

Superstore ordered to stop using Lyari River bed as parking area


August 30, 2018

The owner of a superstore in Defence View has been directed to vacate the area of Lyari River bed that the store had been using as a parking space within a month.

The orders were issued by the Supreme Court-mandated judicial commission investigating the non-provision of clean potable water, sanitation and a healthy environment to the people of Sindh. The commission had taken notice of the store using the bed of the Lyari River for parking and sought explanations from the authorities earlier this week. On Wednesday it issued the orders to vacate the space.

The commission, headed by Justice (retd) Amir Hani Muslim, ordered that if parking or other activity is noticed within the Lyari River bed or on its bank, stern action should be taken by the police. The Karachi AIGP and commissioner were told to issue the respective directives to all concerned in this regard.

In Wednesday’s hearing, the store’s owner appeared along with his counsel and submitted that parking was established due to frequent traffic jams at the road.

The commission inquired how the store was allowed to operate without approval of parking area. The director general of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) submitted that construction work was being carried out at the building and traffic jams occurred after opening of the store.

The counsel of the store owner undertook to vacate the riverbed area and ensured that it will not be used or utilised for any commercial activity or parking purpose. He sought one month for the store to make alternate arrangements for parking for customers.

The commission observed that riverbeds cannot be encroached upon either by any public or private organisation. It directed that concerned officials of the Karachi Development Authority, SBCA to be vigilant and ensure that no encroachment either on the banks or on riverbeds in any part of Karachi is tolerated as such encroachments were the primary cause of the choked flow of the city’s sewerage drainage system.

The commission issued a notice to the SBCA DG with regard to complaints received from Nazimabad and other areas of the city regarding unauthorised constructions and directed the SBCA head to take action ensuring the demolition in case of violation as provided under the law.

The SBCA DG submitted that the police station of SBCA has a shortage of staff and the SHO had been serving since last five years. The commission directed the AIGP to transfer the SBCA SHO if his tenure has expired and post an officer of good repute in his place immediately.

The commission pointed out to the Karachi Cantonment Board CEO that municipal waste was lying on the footpaths, while sewage was also surfacing on the roads on both sides of the Rafiqui Shaheed Road. It directed the KWSB to clean the sewerage lines by late evening.

The cantonment board CEO also assured that the municipal waste disposal and cleanliness of the area would be regularly taken care of and dustbins would be placed for proper disposal immediately.

On Monday, the judicial commission had taken note of the parking of vehicles by the superstore in Defence View on the Lyari River bed and had sought explanations from the city police chief, Karachi Development Authority director general and local government department.

It is very strange that the riverbed of Lyari River, which is also a bed of natural drains, was being allowed to be used for parking purposes which appears to be outright illegal, the judicial body had observed.

The commission was informed that customers who visit the superstore use the riverbed as a parking area. The commission then directed the KDA DG, city police chief and local government secretary to appear and explain why the private store owner was given permission to avail the facility.

Notices were also issued to the store owner to appear and explain under which law he had allowed parking outside his facility’s premises instead of providing it within the store’s premises. The commission also issued notices to the Sindh Building Control Authority director general to explain how the store lacks a parking facility.

In a separate matter regarding the affairs of Jamshoro’s town municipality, the local government secretary had conceded that financial powers of the chairman and CMO need to be withdrawn for serious irregularities in handling public funds and the deputy commissioner should be given the financial powers to run the affairs of the town committee.

The commission referred the matter to the Anti-Corruption Establishment as prima facie there was enough material reflecting misuse and misappropriation of public money as per the inquiry report submitted by the local government secretary.

The commission directed the ACE director to take up the issue against the persons in conformity with the law and in line with the report of the local government secretary.

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