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KDA yet to get possession of 135 occupied parks, 32 playgrounds

By Aslam Shah
KARACHI: Around 135 public parks and 32 playgrounds remained unattended by Karachi Development Authority Estate and Enforcement Department despite clear-cut directions of the Supreme Court (SC) to get such encroached sites vacated.The Court ordered KDA besides Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Sindh Building Control Authority and Deputy Commissioners to immediately evacuate occupation of plots coming under their mandated domains and directed them to cancel allotments of welfare plots with immediate effect.In a report presented by KDA before SC Karachi registry hearing, it was disclosed that thousands of square yards of 35,000 amenity plots in metropolis have been taken over through ‘china cutting’ (illegal carving).For face saving in cosmetic operation, Estate and Enforcement Department KDA demolished some illegal building in Federal B area, Surjani Town and Malir areas where illegal buildings were constructed on amnesty plots.Residential and commercial buildings, hotels, wedding halls, cement bricks factories, private warehouses and cattle farms have been established by encroachers on land of these civic entities.According to Master Plan of Sindh Building Control Authority in 24 KDA schemes the number of such plots stands 3,857.While in six schemes 389 are parks and 102 are playgrounds in Metro-ville III, Landhi and Korangi Township, Clifton Scheme-5, Gulistan-e-Jauhar Schme-36 and Surjani Town Scheme-41, according to KDA Park department survey report.The officials of respective civic entities have claimed that responsible engineers including Anwar Abbas, of Surjani Town-41, S M Tariq of Clifton Scheme-5, Ghulam Muhammad of Gulistan-e-Jouhar-36 and Arif Shah of North Karachi have been reluctant to take any action against encroachers of amenities plots on obvious reasons.Moreover, Raza M Khaimkhani, Director Estate, Enforcement and Resettlement, Arshad Abbas, Director Land Management and Khurram Arif, Director Sports KDA have failed to follow the directives of SC in this regard.According to KDA report, during demolition operation, 188 shops, 140 marriage lawns, 114 residential buildings, 58 boundary walls, 16 cement brick units, 12 hotels besides 4 godowns, offices and cattle farms have been demolished.However, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar claimed that entity was not in favour of illegal occupiers of government and private lands.He said that in view of SC’s orders action against encroachments would be taken without any discrimination.He advised citizens in their own interest that they should confirm such lands in their respective areas which have been converted or otherwise other than a playground or public park.On the other side, Sindh Building Control Authority instead of taking action against encroachers of parks and playgrounds lands has been concentrating on commercial plots.Building Control took action against illegally commercialisation of lands by Bantwa Memon, Amroha Society, Delhi Mercantile Housing Society, Pakistan Medical Association, Aligarh Society and other societies as lands were allotted for welfare work.In addition, National Accountability Bureau has started probe into illegal occupation of 112 playground and parks in parts of city.

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