Anti-encroachment drive on stormwater drains starts


An operation against encroachments around the city’s stormwater drains began on Wednesday, a week after torrential rains wreaked havoc in the metropolis and exposed the lack of planning by the authorities concerned. Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) Anti-encroachment Director Bashir Ahmed Siddiqi said in a statement that the operation would begin at 8am at three separate locations simultaneously. Two of the operations will target encroachments from Café Piyala to Zaiuddin Hospital and from Café Piyala to Teen Hatti, he said. “The third will be carried out at a nullah in New Karachi,” he said, stressing that residents would not be displaced during the anti-encroachment drive. The second phase of the drive will begin after providing residents an alternative place to live, he added. “In the first phase, illegal sheds constructed around the drains will be demolished while the second will target houses built illegally,” he said. North Nazimabad Assistant Commissioner Arsalan Saleem has said that the operation was being carried out at three points and would only target “soft encroachments”. Two assistant commissioners are monitoring the drive at each of the three points, he said. “We are also carrying out a survey to determine how many residents live in these areas and what commercial activities are carried out,” he said. Earlier, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said no operation would take place against people’s homes and residences. “The current exercise is against commercial establishments on encroached land,” he said in a tweet while responding to a video which a resident had shared. KMC officials, equipped with heavy machinery and accompanied by police officials, also carried out the anti-encroachment operation on the banks of Gujjar Nala in Gulberg area. Shaukat Siddiqui, a senior KMC official, told the media that initially soft encroachments were being demolished. However, residents were less than pleased with the drive during which the boundary walls of some houses were razed.

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