LAHORE, Jan 15: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday increasing encroachments in the city had made people’s lives miserable and directed the authorities to carry out a vigorous operation to clear the city of illegal commercial establishments, says a handout.

Speaking at a meeting at Chief Minister’s Secretariat that took up the issue of removal of encroachments, the chief minister said encroachments were resulting in difficulties for businessmen and creating serious traffic problems.

He told the authorities to conduct the operation without any pressure from influential people or groups. He said poor vendors should be fully protected during this operation and they should be given alternate places. Sharif said a media campaign should be launched and special seminars and debates should be arranged before the operation to inform the masses about its importance.

Member of National Assembly Mian Marghoob Ahmed, members of Punjab Assembly Khawaja Salman Rafique, Mian Muhammad Nauman and Mehr Isthiaq Ahmed, Lahore District Coordination Officer Ahad Cheema, Lahore commissioner, local government secretary, PHA director general, DIG (operations) and city traffic officer were also present.

DCO Cheema gave a detailed briefing to the meeting about encroachments on state land in the city, on highways and in the markets.

The chief minister said land grabbers grabbed the state land and encroached various places, but the departments concerned did not take action against them. He said the city should be divided into nine parts before removal of encroachments for the convenience people and smooth flow of traffic.

He said efficient and honest officers should be assigned the operation. He said those who had encroached upon various places should be convinced to voluntarily remove their

He said action should be taken against the people not cooperating with the authorities without any discrimination. He said the district administration would have full cooperation of the elected representatives, institutions and police during this operation.

Sharif told the officials to evolve a system on street lights in the provincial capital. He ordered construction of food courts in various parts of the city and sought a plan in this regard within two weeks.

Earlier, the DCO presented a plan for elimination of encroachments from the city. He told the meeting that construction of food courts was under consideration near Fort Road, Qaddafi Stadium and Abdullah Gull Interchange (Ring Road). He said negotiations were under way with an electric firm to keep street lights functional in the city.

Source: Dawn