The City District Government has failed to eliminate encroachments from Lahore, despite spending huge amount on previous anti-encroachment operations. These ambitious reforms could not produce the desired results because the officials rarely follow up.

Encroachments on footpaths and service roads are rapidly increasing in the provincial metropolis, as the traders of major markets are renting out spaces in front of their business areas in clear violation of laws, forcing the pedestrians to walk on roadside that may also result in accidents. Moreover, illegal car parking on roadsides of some major roads also is causing huge traffic problems. Major portions of footpaths along most of the main roads in the city have been lost to these encroachments, varying from construction material, heaps of garbage and animal fodder to small product stalls, semi-permanent eateries and tea stalls.

These encroachments have become a menace as well as untaxed exploitation. People who own stalls are paying a monthly rent ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 to the shopkeepers and traders, who also charge Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 as advance for allowing them to set up stalls on the footpaths in front of their shops. Other restaurants and makeshift eateries are using footpaths and parts of roads as sitting areas for their customers.

The government spends millions of rupees on the construction of footpaths at roadsides so that pedestrians can walk on these paths conveniently. It was witnessed during a survey that many footpaths, especially those constructed with rough tiles, were damaged because of misuse. According to construction experts, these tiled footpaths are not durable and the government is wasting public money on these.

These encroachers and traders are misusing this public facility in connivance with City District Government Lahore (CDGL) officials. While everyone has a right to a livelihood, and it is unfortunate that small businesses do not have the means and space to set up shop legally, the activity is unlawful.

In addition, some citizens are also misusing these footpaths by throwing waste and garbage, and storing building materials such as sand, bags of cements, iron rods and bricks that not only block these public paths and create hurdles for the pedestrians but also damage them. These encroachments are defeating the whole purpose of constructing footpaths. The officials seem to have a callous attitude towards them- making it very difficult for citizens to actually have faith in the City District Government.