LAHORE: Encroachments are popping up faster than the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) can remove them as encroachment owners assaulted officials and demoralised the movement.

The Samanabad Town administration’s anti-encroachment campaign faced major problems when, during their work on the first side of the street, their workers were allegedly beaten up and harassed by the owners of an estate agency when they tried to remove illegal structures built by them. The officials informed the police and cases were registered against the attackers, however, the workers, who were supposed to demolish structures on the other side of the road. They claimed reluctant claiming that they did not have enough security to foil another attack.

The incident took place some time before Eid, when the administration decided to either widen the road or construct a service lane on it to cope with the massive traffic load on Wahdat Road. The presence of a number of academic institutes, including Punjab University, Government College of Science Wahdat Road and a number of public and private schools in the area significantly added to the traffic jams.

Re-established: Officials started the operation from Naqsha Stop and kept removing structures with the help of bulldozers, trucks and manual labour while personnel from the Police, LDA and other agencies co-operated with CDGL officials to carry out the operation. However, shopkeepers who had previously invested in building structures and installed ovens, stalls and other things like tables and chairs have since redeveloped similar structures on the same spots. This is a direct result of no officials from the CDGL monitoring the road following the campaign to ensure that it was working.

At the launch of the first anti-encroachment operation on November 28, the Samanabad town municipal officer (TMO) told Daily Times that the administration would be removing encroachments from the other side of the main road on the next day because their workers had gotten tired after the day-long effort. The town administration has been unable to deliver on their commitment due to the hesitation of workers and alleged influence used by shopkeepers to keep their encroached spaces.

Clear by Sunday: However, the TMO claimed on Saturday that the town administration had started the operation on the second side of the road and the structures on the other side of the road would be removed by Sunday. He said that the delay had not been because of the reluctance and hesitation of the officers because of the incidents of violence during the first operation, but was instead caused by certain internal delays.

Widened: He also said that the CDGL would most likely widen the road and ensure that the road remained clear of encroachments with follow-up operations and monitoring. He said that offenders found putting up more encroachments would be severely punished.

Source: Daily Times