LAHORE: The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has once again failed to eradicate encroachments from the city, as it did not conduct any follow-up operations to deal with the reoccupation of public land, Daily Times has learnt.

A couple of months back, the district government launched a campaign across the city to demolish illegal structures present on main roads and commercial centres, in a bid to address the city’s traffic problem. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had issued special instructions to the district government to eradicate encroachments in order to provide footpaths to pedestrians and to remove traffic hurdles.

The campaign had been launched in various localities of the city, and had gained much popularity, before it came to a standstill. It was observed that encroachers reoccupied the land only a few days after clearance of encroachments. District Coordination Officer Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta had said the government would demolish the rebuilt structures in follow-up operations under a crash programme and had formulated a strategy for this.

Bribery: Residents have alleged district government officials had reached unspoken agreements with the encroachers. They said the encroachers offered large bribes to municipal inspectors, who were supposed to report and remove the structures. Consequently, these inspectors kept misguiding their seniors about the presence of encroachments.

Results: The encroachers, varying from small stall owners to huge plaza owners, have reoccupied the public land after the campaign’s failure. Augmenting on previous encroachments, they have expanded their shops or businesses situated on public land.

The failure of the district government to eradicate encroachments has also marred the beauty of the city. In certain places, the situation compelled the Supreme Court to take suo motu action against encroachments present in and around the famous monuments of the city, including Jahangir’s Tomb, Shalamar Gardens, Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, and various other places. With this, the government has also failed in its aim to transform Lahore into a beautiful city, which would be in accordance with international standards.

Despite several attempts, Bhutta could not be contacted for comments on the issue. He had previously told Daily Times that the government would launch follow-up operations to demolish the rebuilt encroachments.

Source: Daily Times