City News

Mehmoodabad Nullah cleared of soft encroachments on drive’s second day

On the second day of its four-day anti-encroachment operation on both sides of the city’s Mehmoodabad Nullah, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) on Tuesday cleared soft encroachments.

KMC Anti-Encroachment Senior Director Bashir Siddiqui said they removed debris all the way from Manzoor Colony to Bismillah Chowk and then from Bismillah Chowk to Marwat Chowk.

Siddiqui said they also found old cars and removed them. “Residents and car owners had been asked to park their vehicles somewhere else, otherwise they would be impounded,” he said, adding that most of the owners had complied with their instructions.

Other soft encroachment that were removed included sunshades, walls, iron grills, stairs, chairs and tables of tea shops and restaurants, cabins and kiosks. There were several garages in the area, which the KMC official pointed out were on the storm water drain’s land and so were removed. As for the demolition of structures and houses, he said that it would take a while for that phase to begin. “Initially, we want to get the road passage cleared on both sides of the nullah so that our machinery can get inside.”

He explained that it would take at least six to seven days to get a proper road passage on both sides of the drain. A heavy contingent of police and other law enforcement agencies was deployed in the area during the operation.

In the current four-day drive, land on both sides of the city’s major storm water drain would be cleared of all kinds of encroachments. In the second phase of the operation, said Siddiqui, 20 per cent area of the 57 houses on both the sides of the nullah would be demolished. “The original width of the drain is 50 feet, around which the operation is being carried out. All the residents had been notified about the operation beforehand.”

In the seven-kilometre area of the Mehmoodabad Nullah, he pointed out, there are 57 houses, whose 20 per cent area would be demolished. “However, three to four houses will be completely demolished.”

The KMC had launched the operation on Monday. Siddiqui told the media that balconies of houses and other concrete structures were being demolished along with the removal of soft encroachments, such as cabins, kiosks, and tables and chairs of restaurants and tea shops, in the first phase.

The operation, he said, was being carried out by the KMC’s anti-encroachment department on the court orders. The operation had been postponed indefinitely on November 19 as the residents of the Mehmoodabad neighbourhood had held a massive and violent protest against the drive.

Monday’s operation had kicked off from Manzoor Colony’s Fire Brigade Station. Siddiqui said on the occasion that the drive would continue till Bismillah Chowk for four days. “Several residents have voluntarily started demolishing 20 per cent of their houses that are on the bank of the nullah. As for the other drains of the city, such as the Orangi Town Nullah and the Gujjar Nullah, a similar operation will be conducted.”

The National Disaster Management Authority has undertaken work to clear the Mehmoodabad Nullah from Manzoor Colony’s Fire Brigade Station to Korangi Road, along with the District East administration and the KMC. There are scores of houses on both sides of the 3.5-kilometre nullah that were majorly leased by the KMC itself, with a distance of 100, 150 and 200 feet from the bank of the drain. These houses were notified as Katchi Abadis of the corporation in 1987.

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