General Secretary of traders union blames enforcement staff of RTMA for getting bribes from encroachers on regular basis at Barra Market, Raja Bazaar; Justice Lodhi asks DCO to listen to the traders and take stern action against responsible staff
Justice Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench here Thursday directed city administration to give magisterial powers to the assistant commissioners and officers involved in removing encroachments from the city till appointments of municipal magistrates.
Justice Lodhi resumed hearing in the matter where a petitioner, Anwar Dar has filed contempt of court application for non-implementation of court orders regarding removal of encroachments from the city roads. While hearing of the case nearly all city administrators including district coordination officer (DCO) Talat Mehmood Godnal were present in the court.
Justice Lodhi directed city administration to extend full cooperation to the DCO in removing all encroachments permanently from the city and submit a report by December 23, 2016.
While hearing of the petition of a Bara Market trader, Akbar Khan, who is also General Secretary of traders union alleged before the LHC that the enforcement staff of Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA) was involved in getting bribes from encroachers on regular basis at Bara Market and in Raja Bazaar. Justice Lodhi asked DCO Talat Mehmood Gondal who was present in the court to listen to the trader and take stern action against the responsible staff. He also directed the DCO to give two hours every day to the public and listen to their complaints.
The trader Akbar Khan alleged that he had conveyed these things to the district coordination officer (DCO) with proof but authorities remain unmoved. LHC bench at that juncture remarked that Akbar Khan is at least here to raise his voice. There would be many who could do nothing but remain silent suffering all these miseries.
Justice Lodhi remarked that DCO is a fatherly figure for the whole city. Court had allowed city administration to employ daily wage workers for removing encroachments from the city that they did not. Now the situation is, that Murree Road is Juma Bazaar of motor vehicles. Service roads have been occupied for parking purposes and encroachers not even spared the empty spaces underneath metro bus stations.
Appearing before the court, DCO, executive officers of Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment Boards, administrators of Rawal and Pothohar Towns, and a senior official of Rawalpindi Development Authority submitted their reports regarding their actions against the encroachments.
LHC bench appreciated their efforts. The bench further directed Chief Traffic Officer Sardar Ghias Gul to take action against illegal parking.
In the last hearing, Justice Lodhi had severely admonished the city heads and said that the city administration flouted court orders and whatever it did in the pretext of eliminating encroachments is merely eyewash.
All this happened after a petitioner, Muhammad Anwar Dar, had filed a contempt of court petition with the court while contending that the city administration virtually did not take any step forward for addressing issues in the city.
Petitioner, in his petition under article 204 of the constitution, has claimed that the city administration has not implemented court orders dated May 26.
Petitioner adopted that the LHC bench in its judgment had directed city administration to clear the city roads and nullahs from encroachments but it did not pay heed to its directions that is against norms of law and justice.
On June 2, LHC bench had disposed of the petition while directing the city administration “to continue with the campaign recently launched under direction of this court, which otherwise is to be undertaken under the relevant provisions regulating the business-affairs of such authorities”.