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January 16, 2021

Anti-encroachment operation begins in Mansehra tomorrow

Peshawar

January 16, 2021

ABBOTTABAD: The district administration Mansehra with active support of other line departments, including Kaghan Development Authority (KDA), National Highways Authority (NHA) and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) have decided to launch anti-encroachment operation against encroachments on Mansehra Naran Jalkhad road from Sunday (tomorrow).

According to sources, as many as 41 hotels, 29 houses, 56 shops and other structures would be removed in the first phase which have already been served notices while the second phase would be started just after clearance of snow from the road leading to Naran and Babusar top.

It was learnt that Commissioner Hazara Division, who is also the Chairman of Board of Governors of Kaghan Development Authority, took stern action against illegal construction of hotels and encroachments on Mansehra-Babusar Road along River Kunhar and arrested number of violators and handed them over to the police. He had taken action against the multi-storey building of National Highways Authority (NHA) built on River Kunhar besides a number of other illegal buildings owned by high-ups which were constructed in a riverbed, which is the violation of forest, irrigation, and environmental laws as large number of buildings have been directly intercepting the water flow in River Kunhar. It was learnt that he has ordered the district administration Mansehra and other line departments including Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) to launch an anti-encroachment campaign on Mansehra Naran Jalkhad road. He took serious notice of encroachments of hotels, shops and houses in the jurisdiction of KDA specially on the Mansehra Naran Jalkhad road and Kunhar where illegal extension of buildings have been creating hurdles in the smooth flow of traffic confirmed by an officer of Kaghan Development Authority.

When contacted, Riaz Mehsud, Commissioner Hazara, confirmed that 129 encroachments, which have been identified during a comprehensive process carried out by district administration Mansehra would be removed during the operation. He said that these include 83 on the busiest Mansehra Kaghan Jalkhad road and 46 along with River Kunhar. He said that district administration had served notices to them to remove the encroachments voluntarily otherwise they were left with no option except to remove them. He said that most of them have been delivered notices however some of them have denied to receive the notices.

He said that line departments had done red marking to ascertain magnitude of encroachments with help of the revenue department. Similarly, he pointed out that awareness campaigns including sessions with encroachers and banners were displayed to persuade encroachers to remove encroachments on their own.

The local police will be deployed for security at the time of the anti-encroachment drive to cope with any untoward situation, he added. “On River Kunhar, most of the encroachments fall in the area under acquisition for Balakot Hydropower Project which would be removed subsequently. However, people are being engaged to carry out early assessment in order to brush aside the hindrances. Whereas, 09 encroachments situated right at the bank of the river and outside the acquired area will be removed manually due to access issue” he concluded.

Deputy Commissioner Mansehra Qasim Ali, when contacted, said that a series of meetings chaired by commissioner Hazara had decided that in the first phase, operation would be conducted in Lower Kaghan, Kewai, Jared and Mohandri for which all codal formalities have been completed. He said that a committee consisting of Revenue Staff and NHA officials carried out demarcation to identify and red-marking of the encroachments, which they have completed and notices have been served on the encroachers.

“In light of the directions of the Board meeting of KDA, a series of meetings were held to organize the comprehensive strategy for the implementation of the decisions. Currently the area beyond Kaghan is covered with snow and the operation will be conducted in the second Phase up-to Babusar top when the area is clear” he added.

The deputy commissioner said that after re-checking of encroachment through the assistant commissioner Balakot the staff of NHA and Irrigation were alerted and awareness campaigns were launched by the district administration to sensitize the people and to persuade them to voluntarily remove the encroachments through advertisements in newspapers, installation of banners and pasting of notices.