KARACHI: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is empowered by law to remove illegal encroachments from streets, but the very service road before the KMC headquarters, Civic Centre, on Main University Road is encroached by illegally parked motorcycles and the KMC does not see this grave violation of law under its nose.
Sadly in Karachi, encroachments and illegal parking along roads and streets is sheltered by the very government departments whose responsibility is to remove them for ensuring smooth flow of traffic in the metropolis.
One of such illegal parking site of motorcycles and motorcars is established directly in front of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporations (KMC) headquarters, Civic Centre, near the Hassan Square Flyover in a No-Parking area where even the signboard of ‘no-parking’ is also displayed, but sadly the department concerned is not taking action to remove this encroachment of illegally parked vehicles. It has been observed that the agents of illegal parking mafia openly charge people for Rs 20 on each vehicle for allowing them to park along the road. Resultantly, traffic jamming issue emerges, causing troubles for commuters and schoolchildren during the peak hours.
The KMC, whose responsibility is to remove illegal encroachments along the main roads and service roads in the city, has failed to implement its laws in the vicinity of its own offices. These illegal parking sites are operated under the nose of KMC which shows which hands are behind the illegal parking mafia. Almost all footpaths and service roads of the city in busy commercial and residential areas have already been occupied by the parking mafia, street vendors, automobile workshops and car dealers while some remaining roads have been given to the parking mafia against heavy bribes to loot public with their both hands.
The business hub of the city, the Saddar area is most affected due to illegal encroachments by fruit sellers, parking mafia and other street vendors who sells mostly junk and second hand things, occupying footpaths and roads and causing traffic jams. The relevant department have carried out dozens of ‘operations’ last year in collaboration with rangers and police and evacuated the areas from the encroachers but they returned again and again with the support of corrupt officials. The government could not remove the encroachments from roads and footpaths on permanent due to the corruption element persisting in their system. A visit from the Empress Market to Regal Chowk any time any day will show that almost 80percent of footpaths and 40 percent of roads are encroached by vendors and shopkeepers.
The citizens say there should be a better mechanism to eliminate the corruption element from the government department so that a commoner could get relief.
A lawyer Javaid Hussan Channa said that “when law enforcers become law violators it can only harm more the system that creates problems for common people in the society”. He said there is dire need to ensure transparency and honesty in the government departments for mutual benefit of public and government.
He said government should declare Saddar area a parking free zone and take action against corrupt officials.