Saturday May 18, 2024

Action ordered to clear Peshawar of encroachments

By Riffatullah
April 14, 2022

PESHAWAR: A senior government official on Wednesday directed the relevant departments to prepare an action plan within 10 days to launch an operation to clear the provincial capital of encroachments and reclaim public spaces.

Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud issued the directives as he chaired a meeting on the Peshawar Revival Plan. He ordered all departments concerned to launch an anti-encroachment operation on the Grand Trunk Road, University Road, bazaars in the interior city, City Circular Road and Saddar.

The commissioner directed the officials to take action against those defacing the city with wall chalking.

The Tehsil Municipal Administrators were warned of repercussions if action was not taken against the wall chalking.

However, no such warning was issued to assistant commissioners for failing to prevent such illegal actions in their respective areas.

The commissioner directed the departments to seek suggestions from stakeholders for making the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar traffic-free from 4 pm to 10 pm. It has been observed that the officials regularly hold meetings and express the resolve to take action against encroachments in the city but no visible change is noticed in the city.

Permanent and make-shift encroachments in various parts of Peshawar have created problems both for pedestrians and motorists. These are hindering the free flow of traffic as well.

The bazaars hit hard by make-shift encroachments are Khushal Bazaar between Hashtnagri Railway crossing and GT Road, Hashtnagri, Jinnah Park Road, Bacha Khan Chowk, Chowk Shadipir, Garhi Khana, Karimpura, Shaheen Bazaar, New Muslim Meena Bazaar, Bazaar-e-Kalaan, which is part of Heritage Trail, Chowk Nasir Khan (Koochi Bazaar), Chowk Yadgaar, Ashraf Road, Abresham Garaan (Silk market), Mochi Larha, Sabzi Mandi, Peepal Mandi, Chiri Kobaan, Batairr Bazaar, Qissa Khwani, Church Road, Kohati Bazaar.

Four bazaars-Karimpura Bazaar, Shaheen Bazaar, New Muslim Meena Bazaar, Bazaar-e-Kalaan, Chowk Nasir Khan, Kohati Bazaar are frequented by women as these are known shopping centres but the worst encroachments are seen in these trade centres.

Several elderly citizens recalled the Karimpura Bazaar was wide enough 40 years ago as a heavy garbage collection truck would pass through it twice a day and the traffic flow used to be very smooth because shopkeepers had not encroached upon the road but the situation is highly disturbing these days.

They pointed out that most shopkeepers have now encroached upon 10 to 15 feet of the road next to their shops through make-shift encroachments.

The civic department officials are ignoring the issue while a number of government officials, including woman assistant commissioners, never bother to visit these areas to improve the situation.

The citizens complained that same was the make-shit encroachments situation in Shaheen Bazaar, Bazaar-e-Kalaan, New Muslim Meena Bazaar, Ghanta Bazaar, Chowk Yadgaar, Chowk Nasir Khan (Koochi Bazaar) and Kohati Bazaar.

They argued that the traffic congestion problem would be resolved to a great extent once the public servants get serious and take practical actions to remove make-shift encroachments from these bazaars.

The citizens suggested that strict action against encroachers in the form of heavy fines and punishment to the civic departments’ negligent employees would greatly improve the situation.