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Car dealers occupy roads, footpaths in G-8 Markaz

Car dealers occupy roads, footpaths in G-8 Markaz

ISLAMABAD: The city managers have ignored encroachments made by car dealers on footpaths, pavements and even roads in G-8 Markaz, creating problems for the citizens.

The car dealers have occupied almost all the open spaces in the area.

However, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) never made any attempts to remove the encroachments. A few days ago, the CDA directorate of enforcement was devolved to the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC), giving a new hope to the residents who for over a decade have been waiting to see the Markaz free of encroachments.

The residents said that the car dealers, in connivance with the CDA officials, had also encroached upon pavements. The encroachments on roadsides and footpaths are causing frequent traffic jams in the locality.

During a visit to the Markaz, Dawn noted that there were around 50 showrooms with almost all of them using footpaths, pavements and roads for parking of their vehicles.

“What nonsense is this, where is the CDA and other concerned departments. Because of these encroachments, our life has become miserable and we can’t walk on the footpaths,” said Zaheer Khan, a resident.

He said CDA officials were often seen in various parts of the city removing handcarts of poor people but they never bothered to come here and take action against the car dealers.

A worker at a hotel requesting not to be named told Dawn that CDA officials regularly visited the market to get their share from the car dealers.

“They are well aware of these encroachments but why they will take action against the car dealers when they are getting thousands of rupees from each shop per month,” he alleged.

It may be noted that the directorate of enforcement has been transferred to the IMC but according to officials working in other CDA departments, there will be no action against the encroachers because officials who are now part of the IMC have been enjoying “close” relations with the encroachers for over a decade.

When contacted, CDA deputy director enforcement Mohammad Iqbal Tanoli said his directorate cannot take action against the car dealers without having support from the Islamabad police and the district administration.

“We have been requesting these two departments for the last several months to extend their support but to no avail,” he said and added that the directorate of enforcement had no mechanism to confiscate parked cars and vehicles on footpaths, pavements and roads.

“We can raze illegal buildings constructed on the CDA land. We can confiscate luggage and items of encroachers but how can we confiscate and lift cars and other vehicles,” he said.

To a question, he said: “I do agree the residents can’t move freely in the sector but frankly speaking we are helpless until we get support of the police.” He claimed that talks between the enforcement directorate and the traffic police were underway. “Soon we will start action against the encroachers,” he said.

On the other hand, sources said that by writing letters to the police and the local administration, the directorate of enforcement was just buying time.

“The CDA and the IMC are supposed to remove all encroachments from the state land. By writing letters, our officers are just shifting the responsibility to others. In fact, they don’t want to take action against the encroachers in G-8,” said an official of the enforcement directorate.

Like sector G-8, the city managers have also left almost all other commercial markets such as Karachi Company (G-9 Markaz), F-10 Markaz and the Aabpara market at the mercy of street vendors and shopkeepers who have set up their businesses on the footpaths and verandas of the markets.

“We are fed up with these encroachments as there is no space to move around in the market,” said a visitor to one of the markets.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2016

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