–Plaza being razed to ground shakes owners of market’s other illegal constructions
–Locals laud govt’s right of way recovery initiative as officials say other demolitions on cards as well
LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), as part of its massive operation against encroachments in the Shahalami area of Old Lahore, has started to burn the midnight oil while demolishing a nine-storey high shopping plaza, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, the anti-encroachment operation aimed at providing to the people their right of way is continuing in full swing to meet the set deadlines whereas four floors of the plaza in question have already been razed to the ground and the remaining five would also be demolished within the next couple of days.
“The plaza bearing property number E608 has a total area of nine marlas and is owned by Khawaja Amer in the Makkah Market area of Shahalami. Out of the total area, some 5.5 marlas had been constructed on state-owned land, which WCLA is getting vacated after serving notices and adopting all codal formalities,” sources said.
They added that the operation was continuing with the support of the local police and district administration.
Pakistan Today was further informed that the teams had been trying to demolish the plaza for the past few weeks but the plan had been marred by arguments and clashes until it was launched once again almost a week ago.
“A few other plazas have also been constructed on government land while covering the right of way. The owners of all such plazas, after witnessing this illegal construction’s fate, are now running after influential persons, asking for their help but the government isn’t paying any heed to the appeals.”
They further said that previously, encroachments from almost 90 per cent of Shahalami Market’s verandas had been removed by the WCLA, Metropolitan Corporation Lahore and the district administration.
“The authorities should now monitor the situation in the area so that none of the encroachers return to the market. The business community of Shahalami is hard to deal with and the government needs a strong monitoring mechanism,” sources said.
Meanwhile, a trader said that many scuffles between the authorities and the locals broke out as the operation continued within the past few months, but the business community later realised the gravity of the matter.
“I think it is a good initiative by the government but the main Shahalami road also needs to be fixed and a proper traffic management plan is needed,” a local of Shahalmi, Zeeshan Babur, said and added that traffic jams were another serious issue faced by the residents as well as the business community.
Building Control Assistant Director Usman Diwan informed Pakistan Today that WCLA, along with MCL and the district administration, had so far recovered land worth Rs5.3 billion in the Shahalami area.
“This property E608 was a nine-storey building and stretched at almost 5.5 marlas of the right of way. The operation is underway for the past week and the demolition will take another four to five days. We also demolished another plaza E547 which too was covering the right of way.”
He added that some other demolitions were on cards as well.