LAHORE - A lack of resources, manpower and non-compliance are the reasons obstructing the drive against encroachments in the city, says Lahore Lord Mayor Mubashir Javed.

Talking to The Nation, he said, “Being mayor of largest city of Punjab I have an experience to fight against this mindset of encroachments but at the same time my people need resources and without weapons you can’t win a war.

“People compliance with authorities on removing encroachments in markets is below the mark-up line. If we want to read the Key performing indicators KPIs of Metropolitan Corporation Lahore then people’s compliance is also need of the hour.

The definition of encroachment according to Lahore mayor is “any illegal possession on government’s land is encroachment”. 

 The Lord Mayor seemed helpless to remove the encroachments even around shrine of saint of Lahore Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh. “We remove the wooden-carts and other roadside business from the footpath but next day they come up with same energy,” he said. 

Encroachments in a city of 11.13 million people are out of control and higher-ups are going to launch a massive drive against the encroachment mafia across province, Punjab senior minister Aleem Khan stated in a press talk this week.

Removing mobile carts is the biggest hurdle because with the passage of time corn-sellers are even setting up their carts permanently at several places on government’s land.

Shortage of man power is also one major hurdle in removing the encroachments from the city. MCL has been going through such shortage of people who have to done this task.

“We cannot recruit people even we have sent number of letters to the competent authorities but we have been denied repeatedly due to financial constraints,” mayor said.   

Dharam Pura, Karim Park, Urdu Bazaar and The Mall were the areas MCL have been focusing on in order to continue the root out encroachments.

“Court hearings are also the routine tasks now which also became obstacle against removing the encroachments in city,” Mayor said.

According to LDA Public Relations Directorate, LDA Town Planning Wing demolished five buildings in Raiwind and sealed a students hostel in the drive against illegal buildings in the city.

Staff of the Enforcement Directorate of the Lahore Development Authority conducted an anti-encroachment operation in Green Town and Gulberg on Tuesday. Encroachments were removed and taken away in six trucks from Main Market, Green Town, Firdous Market, Gulberg and Gurumangat Road during this operation.

MCL Anti-Encroachment Squad collected 11 trucks from Ghalib Market in Gulberg Zone, Ek Moria Pul, GT Road, Lal Pul in Shalamar Zone, Darogawala in Wagah Zone, LOS Nullah in Samanabad Zone and Loha Market in Data Gunj Bakhsh Zone.

On the other hand, a two-member bench consisting of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan on Sunday banned commercialisation of all sorts of properties in the city and sought detailed reports from the Lahore Development Authority and the Environment Protection Agency.