KMC’s anti-encroachment teams started work on Friday to remove irregular structures on the banks of Gujjar Nullah, and will keep working till next Saturday.
The Deputy Director of the anti-encroachment department, Tariq Khan, told Aaj News that the purpose of this operation is to facilitate the drainage of rainwater from the area, in order to protect people from urban flooding. He further mentioned that they demolished more than 100 irregular constructions on the first day of the operation. However, no houses have been demolished thus far, he added.
Tariq explained that they are following the demarcations, which were based on a survey conducted by KMC’s Department of Katchi Abadis with the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), to clear the path.
These irregular structures are the parts of houses that were demolished in 2021.
According to Director of Katchi Abadis, Mazhar Khan, the survey began on May 20 and continued for five days. Aaj News tried to reach out to Mazhar Khan again for the results of the survey. This story will be updated if and when the results are shared.
Zahid Farooq of the Urban Resource Center provided some background. The survey conducted in 2021 to demolish houses was done by drone by NEDUET university. It was not a face-to-face survey. The drone survey counted one building as a one-family house. But as is often the case in Karachi, more than one family was living in a single house at that time.
This counting method did not accurately represent the true population, Zahid Farooq said. As a result, the people who were evicted had trouble dealing with the government over alternative plots or compensation. The Sindh government has, however, recently approved the construction of houses to resettle the people who have been displaced from the three major nullahs.
On May 25, the Sindh cabinet approved 6,500 housing units over 248 acres to resettle the people who lost their homes along the three nullahs. They will get houses in the Malir Development Authority.
According to a press handout dated May 25, 2023, Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah gave two proposals:
- The people either be given properly developed 80 sq yard plots and a substantial amount to construct their houses
- Their houses may be constructed by the local government department
The MDA has already handed over the 248 acres to the Local Government department. The CM has approved Rs1 billion for development. The project would cost around Rs10 billion, and its initial paperwork or PC-I has been approved by the chief minister.
Most members of the cabinet were in favour of constructing 6500 housing units. Information Minister Sharjeel Memon argued that handing over plots to the affected people would start real estate business in the area, therefore the houses should be constructed through experienced and well-reputed firms.
The CM directed Law Advisor Murtaza Wahab and the Advocate General to pursue the Supreme Court for the money Bahria Town deposited with it so that work could be speeded up.
The families were given a monthly rent of Rs15000.