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January 6, 2019

405 shops demolished around Karachi: Zoo in drive against encroachments

Karachi

 
January 6, 2019

People trapped under wreckage as a Garden shop caves in Several people were trapped under wreckage as a shop collapsed in the Garden area on Saturday.

The shop’s roof collapsed while the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) was carrying out an anti-encroachment operation against illegal constructions in the area.

As the news spread, rescue teams reached the spot and rescued one person from the debris. The rescue operation was under way till the filing of this story.

Eyewitnesses said the roof collapsed when shopkeepers were taking out their valuables from the shop. According to shopkeepers, the KMC had earlier served them notices to vacate their shops within one month but then they abruptly slashed the deadline due to which they had to empty their shops at short notice.

The shopkeepers claimed that the shops were rented out by the KMC in 1960s and the corporation had recently cancelled the tenancy contracts.

The anti-encroachment operation was started in the Garden area as part of the citywide drive against encroachments being carried out by civic agencies on directives of the Supreme Court.

During the operation on Saturday which targeted encroachments around the Karachi Zoo, a total of 405 shops, including double-storey structures, were demolished.

Four teams comprising senior officers of the KMC conducted the operation. Heavy machinery was employed to raze double-storey buildings. However, the operation could not be completed in a single day and it would be continued on Sunday (today).

The anti-encroachment teams were accompanied by the police, Rangers and staff of K-Electric, Sui Southern Gas Company and other organisations. No resistance was reported during the action.

Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saifur Rehman monitored the operation along with KMC Senior Director Anti-Encroachments Bashir Siddiqui. Talking to media persons, Dr Rehman said all constructions and structures made on footpaths, roads, streets, parks and drains would be demolished on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Dr Rehman admitted that the shops demolished in the Garden area had been rented out by the KMC. He claimed that prior to the operation, the shopkeepers’ union had been taken into confidence by Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar who assured them of provision of alternative space.

The metropolitan commissioner said businesses, including chemical shops, along the boundary wall of the zoo had been affecting animals and trees. Chemical shops are not allowed near zoos in the world, he said, adding that it was a violation of animal rights.

Dr Rehman maintained that the KMC was ensuring immediate removal of debris as the demolition was being carried out so that public was not inconvenienced. He added that welfare organisations operating on footpaths had also been served notices so that they could shift their operations to some plots before anti-encroachment operations started against them.

The metropolitan commissioner claimed that people had by and large cooperated with the KMC during the drive as it was in the larger interest of the city — Agencies

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