Wednesday August 17, 2022

Rampant commercialisation of residential localities

November 28, 2021

Commercial establishments are functioning from residences in several localities of the city. The story is similar in all localities. Once serene residential neighbourhoods, they now host a number of commercial and institutional establishments that cause noise pollution in the area.

Just visit Gowalmandi, Westridge, Dhoke Chaudhrian, Dhoke Syedian, Akalgarh, Hazara Colony, Sadiqabad, Satelite Town, Dheri Hasanabad, Akalgarh, Glass Factory Chowk, Banni, Satellite Town, Dhoke Kashmirian, Dhoke Kala Khan, and Shamsabad to witness extensive commercialization.

People operate several commercial institutions from these primarily residential localities, which have no infrastructural support for commercial establishments. There is no designated parking space as well.

“Who wouldn’t enjoy a superstore next door? After all, it reduces commute time, but the point is; does the infrastructure supports such a change of land use? Are the roads wide enough for parking? Is the sewage system designed for heavy usage,” questions Athar Ali.

“Law violation is widespread in the city, and how it affects citizens, everybody knows. Nevertheless, why is it so easy to flout rules regarding land use? The usual pattern is it generally starts with a restaurant or any other commercial establishment that operates from a house in a main residential locality. They enter into a residential locality by offering a high rental. Who is to blame for this,” adds Athar Ali.

One commercial establishment paves the way for many more. Even though the concerned department does not give a satisfying answer, Abbas Rizvi, senior official seeking anonymity revealed that they do not carry out inspections to give licenses. “It is mostly given based on recommendations from politicians and prominent figures. Getting a license is not a tough task,” he said.

Razi Abedi, a resident of Satellite own says, “Several streets in the city were converted from residential to commercial in the past few years. The department does not seek the views of the neighbourhood people, because it is they who bear the brunt once the area is commercialized.”

“The absence of town planning and implementation by local authorities has led to the growing commercial activities like small industries, auto-workshops, scrap dealers godowns, private schools, hostels, beauty salons, medical clinics, guest houses, gyms, banks, nursing homes, and other business entities in almost every residential area increasing the woes of local residents creating a nuisance for them,” says Syed Kirmani.

“Excessive conversion of houses into commercial centres in the past has taken a heavy toll on the look of the city. It also results in increased commotion and pollution by the regular movement of trucks and other vehicles. No action is visible by the city municipal administrations,” says Nurul Hasan.

“Growing commercial activities in residential areas are affecting municipal infrastructure provided to the residents besides resulting in traffic jams and shortage of facilities like water, gas, and electricity,” says Wajid Ali Shah.