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January 7, 2019

Bazaars in Mardan hit by encroachments


January 7, 2019

MARDAN: A majority of the city bazaars and squares are facing of encroachments while the district administration has become a silent spectator.

The encroachment mafia has virtually occupied Bank Road, New Adda Road, Shahidaano Bazaar, Charsadda Road, Par Hoti Chowk, Dwasaro Chowk, Bijligar Road, Pakistan Chowk, Gajju Khan Road and other main bazaars and squares.

The encroachers have established illegal set-ups alongside roads by placing their showcases on the footpaths selling different items, creating inconvenience to consumers visiting the market.

Local residents visiting the markets face difficulties because of stalls and pushcarts that are placed on footpaths. The banks and private hospitals

have also placed huge electricity generators on footpaths, compounding the problem.

“The encroachers have occupied bazaars allegedly in connivance with officials concerned and this adds to the traffic mess and causes inconvenience to pedestrians,” Mohammad Javed, a customer in a bazaar, told The News.

“Officials of the tehsil municipal administration’s encroachment department receive monthly payments and footpaths are given on rent either by the owners or shopkeepers,” Javed alleged.

Sajid Khan, another customer, said encroachments were on the rise because the encroachers have the support of influential people and authorities concerned.

He added that a large number of women visit Gajju Khan Bazaar for shopping but due to the encroachments, they face a lot of problems.

A woman customer at Gajju Khan Road said that it has become difficult for women to visit the bazaar for shopping, especially Gajju Khan Road, due to the encroachments.

She added that women find it difficult to move in the market because of narrow space due to encroachments.

The woman said that through the district administration had declared Gajju Khan Road to be one-way to facilitate the female customers, no one follows the rule.

Mujibur Rehman, another customer on the Bank Road, said the owners of shops park their vehicles in front of shops all day and the authorities concerned do not take action against them.

He added that majority of the shopkeepers have formed unions, which pressure the district administration not to take action against them for encroachments.

Shoaib Khan, a local resident, said the provincial government had spent billions of rupees on beautification of Mardan but the encroachments waste those beautification measures.

A few days ago, Commissioner Mardan Abdul Ghafoor Baig had told the media that the district administration had prepared a plan to remove encroachments from the district, especially the city. However, the district administration failed to start an effective anti-encroachment drive.

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