KARACHI         -           Mayor Wasim Akhtar said here on Thursday that of total 2,600 traders, who lost their shops in the anti- encroachment drive, 2,100 had been provided with alternate shops, while the remaining will get their shops in the next two months.

Addressing a ceremony held at the KMC head office for the balloting of alternate shops and offices for 405 traders of the Zoological Garden Market, the mayor said that KMC did all this on its own. He said it was his responsibility to focus on the problems of people of the city. “The Supreme Court’s (SC) directive for the removal of encroachments was aimed at restoring the city to its original glory, and that was why we appreciated it. In the past, we did wrong things by allowing people to carry out commercial activities on city parks, drains and pavements. The situation came to a pass where this city lost its beauty and people faced lots of difficulties,” Wasim added.

He said it was unfortunate that the federal and provincial governments had failed to secure their lands, and the successive governments never owned the city. “The Sindh government, though initially, made commitment to relocate those affected by the anti-encroachment drive, but nothing was done practically,” he said, and added, “This city is our home, and we all have the responsibility to protect it from encroachments and preserve its beauty.”

The mayor said everything was being done in accordance with the rules and regulations. “Delay in the allotment of shops was due to the fact that we wanted to provide permanent place for businesses to these traders,” he disclosed.

Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saif-ur-Rehman said that it was more important to relocate the traders rather than bulldozing their shops in the anti-encroachment drive.

He said that mayor had concerns over the relocation of these traders from the day one. “It was a difficult decision to utilise the costly municipal land for the purpose,” he said, and expressed the hope that these traders now would have a booming business at new places. Parliamentary leader in City Council Aslam Shah Afridi said that MQM had proved this that it felt the pain of people.

“The mayor has given to the city’s shopkeepers their right, and the remaining shopkeepers would get alternate shops soon.

Speaking on the occasion, Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Ateeq Mir said it was pleasing to see such events, which were meant for rehabilitating people.

“The mayor is not bound to provide alternate lands to the tenants, but he decided to accommodate them, which is a proof of his commitment to the citizens,” he added. Zoological Garden Market Association General Secretary Asif Shehzad said that they made many efforts, but no one listened to their protest.

 

“When we contacted the mayor, he arranged alternate shops for us for which we are grateful to him,” he added.

Later, the mayor, along with the metropolitan commissioner and traders’ representatives, performed the balloting and announced the names of traders who got the shops and offices at alternate places.