Sindh govt asked to resettle persons affected by anti-encroachment drives
Reminding the Pakistan People’s Party supremo Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of his promise he made to the people during a visit to KDA Chowrangi on September 6, 2020, that if a house had to be demolished, people would be provided with an alternative house first, civil society activists and families affected by anti-encroachment drives on Friday said that the provincial government was destroying ceilings over poor people’s heads, instead of providing them with proper housing facilities.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, the Urban Resource Centre’s Zahid Farooq, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research’s Karamat Ali, National Commission of Human Rights member Anis Haroon and urban planner Muhammad Tauheed among other speakers said that around 7,500 houses around the Gujjar, Orangi and Manzoor Colony nullahs had been demolished in the anti-encroachment drives for cleaning and broadening of storm water drains.
“In the light of Bilawal’s announcement, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also announced rehabilitation of the affected persons and provision of alternative accommodations for them in the Sindh Assembly, and also allocated Rs2 billion for this purpose in the 2021-22 budget,” said Farooq. He recalled that Shah had also said on that occasion that the provincial government needed a total of around Rs10 billion for providing alternative houses to all the affected families and it would allocate the remaining Rs8 billion in the next budget.
However, Farooq lamented that neither was Rs2 billion, which was allocated in the 2021-22 budget, spent nor did any government institution take any step for the resettlement of the affected families during the financial year.
He said that affected persons were still distressed and some of them living on the debris of their demolished houses. “Government officials are not allowing the affected persons to construct a wall or washroom on the remaining area of their demolished houses,” he said.
Published in The News 18 June 2022