LAHORE - The new plan is around the corner to revise the anti-encroachment drive that was launched by City District Government Lahore (CDGL) and Lahore Development Authority (LDA) separately some months back throughout the city but screeched to a standstill due to one or the other reason. The proposed plan includes revision of anti-encroachment strategy, creating new division of the areas most affected by the land mafia and involving politicians besides public opinion leaders to make the campaign more effective and flawless. Sources within LDA revealed that before the resuming firm action against the squatters, the authorities concerned had submitted a summary regarding commercialisation to Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif for approval. Sooner we get the nod, campaign would be started with full force, they added. They said the anti-infringement operation that continued with full rumble during three months, had come to a complete halt at the behest of some influential political leaders of the areas concerned. Sources stressed strong political will as a must to sweep out menace of encroachment forever. It is important to note that the drive at different levels to purge the city from bane of encroachment coincided with the revival of commissionerate system and handing over powers to the provincial secretaries to manage towns. The whole government machinery including commissioner, provincial secretaries, DCO, chairman task force, TMAs, high-ups of the LDA and Wasa were engaged in the process. However, it failed to create an impact and the reason being a simple one. Soon after the anti-encroachment operation, encroachers are re-emerging at the same spots. Same is case with the drive at all Wasa drains. Interestingly, while clearing encroachments within the multi-storeyed plazas, a part of the anti-encroachment drive in the past, has been excluded from the current drive. Eviction of cattle, integral part of anti-intrusion drive, could also not ensured despite extending deadlines. The last drive was launched with much funfair. The city was divided into three sectors. Sector I included Data Gunj Buksh Town, Shalimar Town and Ravi Town. Gulberg Town, Aziz Bhatti Town and Wagha Town were a part of Sector II, while Sector III consisted of Samanabad Town, Allama Iqbal Town and Nishtar Town. Three squads were provided with a frond end loader, two dumpers, one truck and related technical stuff. The officials of the Estate Management Directorate of the Town Planning Wing of the LDA were involved in the drive in LDA controlled areas. But still, not much has been changed. Sources in CDGL are of the view that the drive is just a waste of time and financial resources because after most operations encroachers restart their businesses at the same spots. Though scores of illegal structures were removed throughout the city. But as soon as squads of the CDGL, the LDA and the TMAs return after clearing encroachments causing impediments in movement of pedestrians, flow of traffic as well as quick disposal of storm water at the market places, the encroachers spring into action again. LDA officials seeking anonymity said in order to make the raids more effective, a proper mechanism should be formulated. In fact, there is a need to create awareness among people about the sanctity of public land. Roads are built for traffic movement and there would be traffic jams if these are encroached upon. If footpaths are occupied then pedestrians would have to walk on the roads while risking their lives, they added. The LDA had also urged residents of different the housing schemes within its jurisdiction to voluntarily eliminate all encroachments without any delay, failing which they would have to bear the demolition charges as well. Action would be taken against the encroachers under sections 33, 34 and 40 of the LDA Act 1975, sources added. Sources disclosed that some officials recommended a strict legislation followed by a foolproof strategy before initiating any drive. But top bureaucrats discouraged the suggestions and launched it without anticipating its repercussion, they said. They did not realise that its failure would bring a bad name for the government, the sources maintained. They said the Wasa drains have to be cleared of markets, buildings and slums as these encroachments are causing chocking and other hazards. And situation aggravates during heavy rains, they added. Wasa had announced Rs one billion project to clear such intrusions besides enhancing the capacity of drains and pumping stations. But the same political pressure emerged as a ghost. They said as most of the illegal structures belong to influential people, hence they use their political connections. The district governments are fully aware that no one can encroach on government land without the 'help of officials deputed to ensure to protect state infrastructure. Traffic police is duty bound not to allow any fruit or vegetable vendor to use roads for their businesses, but things are going on as they were before, the sources lamented. It may be recalled that Commissioner Lahore Khusro Pervaiz Khan announced during a recently held meeting to make real difference during the upcoming campaign. DCO Lahore Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta also assured that the operation would prove to be result oriented. This time we are removing the permanent structures besides others that have spilled out of the approved building designs, he said. It may be recalled that the Punjab government led by Shahbaz Sharif successfully removed all encroachments from the main Garhi Shahu Bazaar in 1998 to 1999. It widened the main road being used by people coming from the GT Road when the old Garhi Shahu Bridge was demolished to construct a new bridge linking the Allama Iqbal Road to the GT Road. But it is a open secret that the road has been encroached again, blocking the alternate route to the GT Road.