KARACHI: Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhter has said that the committees have been formed and all the paperwork has been completed for the rehabilitation and relocation of registered tenants of KMC markets only whose shops were razed in the anti-encroachment drive, says a Press release.
“All registered KMC tenants will be provided alternate shops at the earliest through balloting which will be held at Commissioner’s Office very soon so that they could get back to their routine life while no such arrangement will be made for the encroachers who should not expect any relief from us”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Thursday.
Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, Former President AQ Khalil and Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Chairman KCCI Special Committee for Small Traders Majeed Memon, Managing Committee Members and a large number of affected attended the meeting.
Mayor Karachi further said that all associations of markets have been consulted from time to time since commencement of anti-encroachment drive and they have expressed satisfaction over the strategy devised by KMC for rehabilitation of the affected. Around 240 shops were available at the Parking Plaza in Saddar while a land belonging to Board of Revenue has also been identified where KMC tenants will be relocated, he said, adding that KMC was progressing well and Sindh government is also on board in the entire rehabilitation process but it is going to take some time.
He said that KMC was receiving limited amount of funds which are mostly utilized on payment of salaries and pensions whereas the remaining meager amount of funds were being used for some development work and they do not even have funds to clear the debris of the anti-encroachment drive.
Waseem Akhter said that the anti-encroachment operation was purely in the interest of Karachi and its citizens as almost the entire city has been encroached which have to be removed so that the city could look beautiful. “Nullahs, parks and footpaths simply cannot be used for carrying out businesses which would not be allowed at any cost”, he added.
He admitted that during the anti-encroachment drive, some mistakes have been committed by him in which some of the legitimate shopkeepers were dislodged but efforts are underway to rectify these mistakes.
Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, in his address, said that all the political parties at the federal, provincial and local levels have never done any justice to Karachi and everyone has looted this city mercilessly and the city has received step-motherly treatment despite the fact that Karachi, with a huge revenue contribution of 70 percent, is a city which feeds the entire country. “We have no problems in feeding the entire country but Karachi must be given its due share and rights”, he added.
He said that encroachments have to be removed from the city as any encroachment at parks and footpaths cannot be ignored. KCCI would never speak in favor of such encroachers but will certainly ask who encouraged them to take over these parks and footpaths during the last 40 years. “The elements responsible for encouraging encroachments within the government must also be taken to task as they just want to get away and save themselves by completely wiping out all the encroachments under Supreme Court’s order with a view to hide their wrongdoings.”
He was of the opinion that although large number of encroachments have been razed in the anti-encroachment drive but it was carried out haphazardly without providing alternate locations to the affected.
He urged the Mayor to take practical steps for minimizing the grievances of genuine affected by devising strategies for their quick rehabilitation. “Any affected possessing rent receipt, lease or any other legal document should be compensated. The Karachi Chamber would continue to raise strong voice until all the genuine affected of anti-encroachment drive are fully rehabilitated and the elements responsible for promoting encroachers are punished”, he added.
He further advised Mayor to form a committee in collaboration with KCCI which must thoroughly carry out case-to-case study so that the genuine affected are relocated at a suitable location within the shortest possible time.
President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, in his remarks, stated that the city was undoubtedly facing serious encroachment issue that simply cannot be denied and there are a lot of illegalities as well therefore, KCCI strongly believes that the encroachment drive must go on which is in the larger interest of the city but the citizens and members of business and industrial community cannot be solely blamed as the elements within the government also played an equal role in creating the disastrous situation.
He stressed that the entire procedure for rehabilitation of the genuine affected should be defined in consultation with Karachi Chamber and the rehabilitation of genuine affected must take place smoothly without any complaint which was widely supported by all the affected present at the meeting.
“Alternative places to genuine affected of anti-encroachment drive have to be provided on top priority basis as it was a question of daily bread and butter for thousands of families who became jobless as their shops have been completely flattened and they have no other source of income”, he added.
He further stated that the definition of encroachment has been misinterpreted and the Honorable Supreme Court’s order was being misused which has to be implemented in letter and spirit.
Junaid Makda said that KCCI welcomes Mayor’s announcement that every tenant of KMC will be given alternative shops but it should be done on priority basis
He further requested Mayor Karachi to form a joint committee between KCCI and KMC which should be responsible for overseeing rehabilitation of genuine affected of anti-encroachment drive. “It has been 71 years since Pakistan came to existence and the governments from time to time have been assuring about the regularization of slum areas but unfortunately, no government has enacted the relevant Act in this regard”, he added.