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Where the anti-encroachment drive destined to end?

Garlanded: Osama Ahmad Waraich Garlanded: Osama Ahmad Waraich[/caption] They say accusing all shopkeepers in the bazaar of making encroachments and harassing them was uncalled for, especially in the aftermath of the two disasters that struck Chitral this year. In a telephonic interview with ChitralToday, some of the traders said in 1982 the width of the space in the Chitral bazaar was 12 feet. Later, the government decided to double the width of the road and purchased portions of the shops along the road from the owners. They said as a proof they still have the copies of the MCB cheques given to them by the government in lieu of their properties. An old trader in the bazaar added that at the moment the width of the space between two lines of shops along the road in the bazaar is 24.5 feet. Somewhere it is more than 27 feet, he claimed. With the arrival of the new deputy commissioner a few months ago, he added, the district administration swung into action and recently a red marking was made around four to five feet inside each of the shops on both sides of the road in the bazaar saying the land up to that red mark belonged to the state and would be retrieved from the encroachers. The traders claimed that they had not made any encroachment and if they had occupied the road area the district administration should produce the map of the road. They also said the deputy commissioner’s directions to the owners to produce their ownership documents showing the size and location of the shops was irrelevant in the context of Chitral where the old property papers only contained the geographical location of the land from the four sides. They also said there were encroachments in other areas of the town, including Xang Bazaar, officer colony in Denin, but the district administration seemed not in a mood to go after them. “If one enters the Chitral town, they can see that the district nazim, Maghfirat Shah, has occupied public property and made it a part of its residential building in Jughur,” said the trader. He added that the whole Chitral is witness that there used to be a jeep-able road in front of Mr Shah’s house but that particular portion of the road was encroached upon by him when he was the district nazim from 2005 to 2010. But people of Chitral demanded that the campaign should not only be taken to its logical end in the town but should also be extended to other areas of the valley. They also demanded that the district administration should not ignore the violations done by influential figures. When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Osama Ahmad Waraich told ChitralToday that as far as small or big shopkeepers are concerned, the campaign has to start from somewhere. “I just want to say that this bazar action is a small part of the overall cleanliness campaign which will be carried out across the District, whoever has encroached, be it the district nazim, MNA, MPA or whoever, will have to vacate the land.”]]>

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