Roads, footpaths occupied by encroachers in Taxila

TAXILA: The failure of the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) and the traffic wardens to check growing encroachments made on roads and footpaths by shopkeepers and traders is causing snarl-ups, inconveniencing motorists and endangering the life of emergency patients.

For years, civil society, shoppers and the citizens have been raising a voice against the encroachers, pleading with the local administration to take action against them but to no avail.

As the TMA is not taking any action to end the menace, the impression gathered is that there is a nexus of sorts among the officials and the traders to perpetrate encroachments. It has been observed that traders dumped their merchandise like barrels of oil and chemicals, bamboos and spare stocks of merchandise not only on the footpaths but also on the roadsides.

The situation is so worse that shopkeepers and traders have even occupied roads and footpaths outside the TMA office.

The unabated encroachment on roads and footpaths of almost all major markets is causing inconvenience to commuters and pedestrians even as the TMA authorities and the traffic wardens have become a spectator to the issue. Shopkeepers in the main markets of the city have displayed their items on the footpaths, leaving no space for the pedestrians to walk.

The encroachers in connivance with officials of the civic bodies have also set up their stalls on various points of Faisal Shaheed Road, Railway Road, HMC Road and Taxila Chowk.

Jameel Ahmed, a resident of the area, said over 2,000 pickups, 1,500 rickshaws and 700 wagons daily used the road to access the railway, HMC roads and the Hattar industrial estate. “No one can solve this problem because the traders are hands in glove with the traffic wardens and the TMA officials,” he added.

Malik Zahid, another resident, said it was really disappointing that shopkeepers had encroached on footpaths. He said it was illegal to occupy walkways, walking on which was a right of every pedestrian.

Dr Ramzan Rana, a social worker, said the traffic problems could be solved in just one day if the authorities launched a crackdown on the traders. He said one of the congested roads led to the Christian Hospital and many times ambulances carrying serious patients got stuck in the snarl-ups.

Asma Bibi, a shopper, said traffic wardens had played an important role in maintaining smooth flow of traffic but they looked the whole situation as an idle spectator, adding political pressure was the main obstacle for their inaction.

A shopkeeper, who wished not to be named, said they paid a handsome amount to some employees of the TMA on a weekly basis.

When contacted, Tehsil Municipal Officer (TMO) Qammar Zeeshan said the civic body was well aware of the inconvenience to the pedestrians and motorists and would soon launch an anti-encroachment drive.

Pindi police get new uniforms

RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi police was handed over 13,000 new uniforms which are to be distributed in a week after sizing problems were addressed.

Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Police (Logistics) Humayun Bashir Tarar told the Rawalpindi police early this week to collect the new uniforms.

“After addressing sizing problems, new uniforms in various sizes have been sent to the Rawalpindi police,” AIG Tarar said.

Soon after the police was told about the delivery of new uniforms, a tailor from Police Lines was called by the RPO and CPO for taking measurements to avert sizing problems because the uniforms will be given to officials in all ranks.

The first of the new uniforms were distributed in Lahore in April after being approved by the Punjab chief minister and problems with sizing were noticed soon after.

The distribution of uniforms in Rawalpindi was therefore delayed and it was decided to first review sizes.

The AIG logistics said officials will not be allowed to buy cloth from the market to get their uniformed made as pre-approved cloth can only be used in the uniforms, which have to be stitched by an approved tailor.

He said the new uniforms are olive green, which will help protect officers against the heat. However, officers in Lahore said the new uniform is heat absorbing and uncomfortable.

Since officers of all ranks are given a uniform allowance, they will be sold the new uniforms for Rs1,950 each.

The new uniforms include a shirt with two pockets, a trouser with four pockets and a cap. Women officials will also be given uniforms sewn from the same cloth.

Electricity generation crosses record level of 18,000MW: Khawaja Asif

FB_IMG_1496381786407(BY : Ijaz Hashmi) Electricity generation crosses record level of 18,000MW: Khawaja Asif
Minister of Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said government will fulfill its promises to make Pakistan a loadshedding free country. In an interview, he said electricity generation has crossed record level of 18,000 megawatt. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water and Power has said there has been no unscheduled loadshedding across the country.

Champions Trophy: ‘Not taking pressure for India clash’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is making sure his players feel no pressure ahead of their high-profile clash against arch-rivals India in the ICC Champions Trophy in Birmingham on Sunday.

“We are trying to stay relaxed and not take pressure. It is important to be relaxed and confident before every big game, to keep the nerves in check,” Sarfraz said while speaking to a private news channel.

When asked what bowling combination he plans to unleash against India, Sarfraz said the decision would be made after reading the pitch on the match day (June 4).

“It depends on how the pitch looks before the game. We will unleash our best pace attack, maybe three or four fast bowlers if needed, or a combination of spin and pace,” the 30-year-old wicket-keeper/batsman said.

He vowed the team would give their best in every game of the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy.

“You will see us playing to the best of our capabilities. You will see a fighting team,” Sarfraz said. “We will do our best to make our country proud.”

Power consumers to get a refund of Rs1.96 per unit this month

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday directed all distribution companies of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to refund Rs1.96 per unit to consumers this month, after overcharging them in April.

According to a notification, the regulator did not accept a petition by the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) that had sought a slash of Rs1.75 per unit to adjust for lower fuel prices, than had been estimated, in April. The regulator noted that the actual pool fuel charge for the month of April was Rs5.78 per unit against the reference fuel cost component of Rs7.63 per unit. The refund amount was calculated to be Rs1.96 per unit after adding a couple of other heads.

The CPPA had tried to add fuel cost to hydropower generation despite it being a renewable source of energy. However, the Nepra ruled that the law only allowed adjustment to the approved tariff under the head of fuel charges, while the Indus River System Authority charges, the net hydel profit and water use charges, claimed by the CPPA, did “not fall under the definition of fuel charges”. Such charges were a part of the regular tariff included in the Wapda’s annual revenue requirements.

The actual fuel charge for April was worked out at Rs5.665 per unit, compared to the pre-approved reference fuel charge component of Rs7.63 per unit, necessitating a refund of Rs1.96 per unit.

The tariff adjustment was allowed under a monthly fuel adjustment plan that required the transfer of actual fuel cost of power generation to consumers. The change in electricity rates would not be applicable to agricultural consumers and residential consumers using less than 300 units per month and K-Electric.