Corruption at New Sabzi Mandi

4,800 square feet amenity plot encroached


By Jamil Khan | KARACHI


TRADERS at the New Sabzi Mandi expressed grave concerns over the encroachment of an amenity plot and have demanded strict action against the officials involved.

The encroached amenity plot, measuring 4,800 square feet, was allocated for a proposed fire station but the Market Committee has constructed six illegal shops on it, with the support of corrupt officials.

“The city government had adopted a master plan for the new Sabzi Mandi in February 14, 2005, in which this plot was reserved for a fire station to protect the hundreds of shops and people visiting this facility on a daily basis,” said Malir Wholesale Fresh Fruit Merchant and Growers Association President Muhammad Javed.

Javed further said that the officials have renamed the vacant site a new number, Block AF-1, and were supporting the illegal construction of shops. The traders said that a fire station within the jurisdiction of the mandi was the need of the hour. “One cannot miss the heaps of wooden cases of fruits and vegetables that could become a potential source of a major fire and ruin the lives and property of the traders in a matter of seconds,” said one of the traders.

“Even footpaths have been encroached upon with the support of officials and the parking spaces have been converted into warehouses,” complained the traders. “The previous administrator of the mandi, Ghulam Nabi Chakrani was suspended for issuing illegal allotments of 200 shops on the proposed site of a parking area and fire station. A case was registered with the Anti-Corruption Cell but now the new administration is overtly supporting the encroachments on the reserved sites,” said another trader.

Besides the illegal construction, the traders also drew attention to other civic problems being faced by the traders and visitors alike. They complained that the New Sabzi Mandi, spread on 96-acres, needed immediate attention. “After almost one decade, there are still over 500 shopkeepers who are deprived of potable water connections and depend on the tanker mafia, having to pay Rs 750 for a single 1,000-gallon tanker which hardly lasts a week,” said a trader, Raheel. He added that 2,000 traders obtained illegal water connections by giving Rs 2,500 as connection charges and then Rs 500 a month to the officials concerned.

The traders association demanded that the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA), city government, local government and other high-ups should take notice of these irregularities. Requesting anonymity, a trader said that the government of Sindh had allocated Rs 300 million in the budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year. “Six months have passed but not a single rupee has been spent on the improvement of New Sabzi Mandi. The officials sitting in the Market Committee are busy in forging bills to do away with the money and no one is willing to take action against them,” he said.

Meanwhile, New Sabzi Mandi Administrator Anwar Ali Gopang refuted the claims of illegal construction of shops but avoided giving further information, stating that the Agriculture Secretary was the person to be approached over this topic.

However, despite repeated attempts Agriculture Secretary Subago Khan Jatoi could not be contacted.

-Published in Daily Times | Jan 03, 2009

~ by jamilkhan on January 3, 2009.

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