LAHORE: Shopkeepers at MM Alam Road have reoccupied public land within a week after the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and other agencies of City District Government Lahore (CDGL) completed an anti-encroachment campaign in the area.
The move was aimed at recovering public land, including footpaths that were situated at one of the best shopping malls of the city. It was said that clearing public land would help solve traffic problems, as space would be made available on both sides of the road. The mission seemed to be ineffective, as traffic problems have not been solved, and those who had lost their illegally-occupied public land were busy reoccupying the same land.
Residents: A resident of Gulberg, Usman Qadir, said there used to be smaller shops in the past with better facilities and proper footpaths for pedestrians of the area. He said the shopkeepers had occupied public land gradually and eventually occupied all footpaths and parking spaces. He said these shopkeepers occupied public land only to facilitate their own interest, adding that they violated the rights of citizens.
Another resident, named Nughma Ejaz, said law enforcement agencies were involved in the encroachment process across the city. She said occupation of public land was not done secretly, adding that authorities were bribed to stay silent on the issue of encroachments. She added that she was shocked to see the ongoing anti-encroachment campaign fail, as the encroachers conveniently reoccupied the land a week after they had been forcefully removed.
Residents of such areas told Daily Times that they had associated hopes with the campaign, but soon realised that it was just another formality exercised by the Punjab government.
These encroachments have also affected the people living near Guru Mangat Road, Noor Jehan Road, Mehmood Ali Qasoori Road, Liberty Market area, Ghalib Market, Mini Market, Main Market, Zahoor Elahi Road, and several other nearby areas where traffic jams are very common.
District Coordination Officer Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta said he would personally check the post operation status of MM Alam Road and linked areas, adding that the officials concerned would be questioned upon the reoccupying of land. He said people should use the anti-encroachment centres established throughout the city to complain about encroachments.
Sorce: Daily Times