KARACHI  -   Negligence of the local administration is causing failure of the ongoing anti-encroachments drive in Lyari and old area of the metropolitan, The Nation learnt on Thursday.

Encroachments remain one of the major problems in Lyari and the old city area. It is a thriving business involving millions of rupees, which could not be run without the support of the local administration and the police.

The surveys of main market and shopping places of Lyari and other old areas show that encroachers are still occupying the old spots and doing business as usual.

On the directions of the Supreme Court, an anti encroachment drive has been initiated in the commercial hub of Karachi. However, favouritism, political influence and negligence of the local administration causing failure of the operation in major parts of the District South, an important district of the city.

In Lyari, the situation is alarming where encroachers seem to be given a free hand as no serious operation has been taken against them so far. They have not only encroached upon main marketplaces such as Lea Market, Sheedi Village Road, Haat Chowk, Karabai Karimji Road, Shah Waliuallah Road, but also footpaths of school buildings, hospitals and other public places in the town.

Lyari has been portrayed the worse face of Karachi due to the massive encroachments and irregularities in constructions in the residential and commercial areas. On October 26, the apex court ordered all relevant departments to constitute a joint team comprising members of the concerned departments of federal, provincial and city governments for removal of encroachment in Karachi.

The anti encroachment drive gave some relief to the citizens but could not sustain anymore.

Lea Market, a commercial hub of Lyari and Saddar, has been occupied by the encroachers; mostly those who came from Afghanistan and parts of the country. Traffic jam problem is still witnessed in Lea Market and its surrounding areas including Kharadar, Meethadar, Kajor Bazaar, Bolton Market and Napier Road and others.

Similarly, the residential parts of Lyari are still suffering due to negligence of the local administration. In many areas, encroachers have resumed construction of illegal walls and extension of shops and houses.

Chakiwara is the oldest area of Lyari, but still suffering due to such encroachments. The administration has issued notices to encroachers and demolished just a few walls of some shops, but did not continue the drive due to alleged favouritism and political influence.

The area people expressed their reservations in this regard. They said that as long as the authorities do not take it seriously, the problem would not be solved at the municipal level.

People held the local administration responsible for the prevailing situation and said that several anti-encroachment drives were launched in the old areas in the past, but the administration failed to make them successful.

The situation is not different in other old areas including Kharadar-Meethadar and busy Ranchore Line and Nanakwara. Area people have urged the authorities to take a serious note of the situation and take early remedial steps to overcome this problem.

A survey of Lyari shows that encroachers have occupied footpaths around schools and hospitals in residential area by using open space for parking and establish roadside workshops.

The pedestrians have expressed their reservations; they say that encroachers are not only causing inconvenience and difficulties to passers-by but at the same time they are causing traffic congestion.

Mostly area people said that virtually open spaces near public buildings are either controlled by transport mafia and other encroachment mafias, but it is not possible without the support and patronisation of the concerned authorities and local police. They said that vendors and hawkers have been allowed to continue their business.

The residents also allege that the transport mafia, which reigns supreme in the locality, has a control over all marketplaces, important roads, streets and congested areas of the town.

Land encroachment on the municipal and government plots is one of the major problems in the town. A vast area of the municipal land in Lea Market area, Haat Chowk, Faqir Mohammad Dura Khan Road, Mirza Adam Khan Road, Shah Waliullah Road, Chawkiwara Road, Juna Kumarwara Road and Mauripur Road has been occupied by the transport mafia.