ISLAMABAD: Shopkeepers, as well as visitors of Aabpara Market, have criticised the civic authorities for supporting the encroachers and turning blind eyes towards poor sewerage and sanitation conditions of the market.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a number of shopkeepers and visitors of Aabpara Market criticised the civic authorities for not taking interest to resolve the problems of the market.
Muhammad Fazal, a shopkeeper, revealed that encroachers have the full support of shopkeepers and officials of Capital Development Authority (CDA) as they pay a monthly ‘fee’ to those officials. “Every month, an official of CDA’s Enforcement Directorate comes and receive Rs1500 from each stall-holder”, Fazal said.
He further said that the shopkeepers who allow encroachers to set-up their stalls in front of shops get monthly rent of up to Rs70,000 from each encroacher.
Fazal also told that whenever CDA officials come to market to conduct an operation against encroachments, they pass on the information to few shopkeepers and encroachers before their arrival so they can save their stalls and other materials.
“However, normally they (CDA officials) come early in the morning when most of the shops are closed and they seize a few stalls to observe the formalities. The stall holders get back their seized material the next day by submitting an affidavit and start their businesses again,” he said.
Muhammad Aziz, a shopkeeper, told that the problems of one of the oldest and most crowded markets of the city are rising with each passing day. Encroachment and poor sanitation conditions are discouraging the visitors and business activities.
Raja Imran, a visitor, said encroachment in the Aabpara market has increased to an extent that visitors cannot move and shop freely. “Many visitors even use the road for movement which is already occupied by the vehicles”, said Imran.
Khurram Shahzad, another shopper, said the poor sanitary conditions and stinky sewerage water causes obstruction in the movement of visitors. “Car parking is also a major problem here and visitors have to wait longer to get a parking space,” he said.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Director Enforcement CDA, Faheem Badshah said that we have recently conducted an operation against encroachers in the Aabpara Market. “We conduct operations time to time and seize all materials from the encroachers and donate it to Madaaris and orphanages but the next day they establish their stalls again,” he added.
On a question, he told that we cannot remove encroachments permanently until we get a clear policy and orders from the high-ups.
Director Sanitation, Sardar Khan Zimri while talking to Pakistan Today told that G-6 is the oldest sector of Islamabad and no up-gradation/ rehabilitation work has not been done in the past sixty years. “The sewer pipes are of small diameters while the increase in population and illegal constructions in the nearby areas have increased the sewerage problems in the market.
Zimri told that Sanitation department had replaced 6 inches sewer pipes with the new 9 inch pipes in few areas of G-6 but a new sewerage plan is required to solve the problem permanently in the area. “We have submitted many plans but higher authorities had never approved any plan yet,” he added.
“Despite the presence of limited human resource and 30 years old equipment, sanitation department deals with seven to eight complaints on daily basis,” Zimri said.