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Rawalpindi

Rawalpindi: Encroachments in Cantt areas

RAWALPINDI: The residents of several cantonment areas are suffering due to encroachments and illegal commercial activities in residential areas but, the authorities concerned seem least interested to take action in accordance with the law against violators.

Illegal commercial activities in several residential areas of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) including Gawalmandi, Chor, Masrial Road, Tench Bhatta, Dhoke Syedan, Bakra Mandi and Chungi No 22 witnessed as encroachers who have occupied streets and roads, create problems for motorists and pedestrians particularly women and children.

The illegal commercial activities rampant in several residential areas, create lots of nuisance.

The residents have raised queries why a number of roads have been declared eligible to be commercial by ignoring parking arrangements and traffic-related issues.

Almost all unauthorized commercial units, factories, godowns and offices in residential areas lack parking arrangements. Thus, vehicles are generally parked on roads causing traffic congestion.

The majority of such units lack fire safety arrangements, posing a threat to residents. There is no check on noise pollution generated by industrial units.

According to residents, most streets of Tench Bhatta, Peoples Colony, Dhoke Syedan, Bakra Mandi, Chungi No 22, Chor, Gawalmandi, etc. have been converted into commercial centres as traders have converted houses into workshops, godowns and offices.

The residents also complain that influential persons in connivance with the authorities concerned are constructing illegal plazas and shops further contributing to the deterioration of the situation.

The residents, Majid, Nadeem and Saleem talking to APP said encroachments in several residential areas particularly Tench Bhatta, Chungi No 22, Chor and Gawalmandi were on the rise as the authorities were unable to stop encroachments that were steadily increasing and getting out of control.

By violating building bylaws, a number of commercial stores, restaurants and other units have been opened in the residential area of Tench Bhatta, Chor and Gawalmandi.

A resident said, “The roads were declared commercial by ignoring the safety of residents and traffic-related issues.”

Due to the authorities’ concerned apathy and negligence, residents are suffering because no action was taken on the complaints against violations.

Encroachments have become a major problem not only for motorists but also area residents, while the concerned are taking no action.

Wajid, a resident of Tench Bhatta said one could witness the traffic mess on Tench Bhatta road as shopkeepers had occupied both sides of the road and left no space for movement of pedestrians besides causing traffic jams.

“Due to rising commercial activities in these areas, we are forced to suffer. The visitors to unauthorised commercial units park their vehicles outside houses.

“The department concerned has created a big mess in various residential areas by ignoring such violations,” he added.

An RCB spokesman said the board was not allowing new commercial construction in residential areas. “We are taking action in accordance with the law against violators. Heavy fines are imposed on the violators,” he added.

He said that the Board had accelerated its ongoing anti-encroachment drive.

He advised the citizens not to violate the rules otherwise stern action would be taken against the violators and no relaxation would be given to anyone.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.