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Months: Five Drives: 100 Result: Zero!

india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 01:02 IST

THE LUCKNOW Municipal Corporation (LMC) launched about 100 anti-encroachment drives during five months. But, the result has been a big zero!

LMC bosses quote figures to prove their efforts. But, the people report ‘no relief’ and  prove the menace continues as ever. To top it all, urban development minister Azam Khan calls LMC ‘impotent’ as far as such drives are concerned.

And the final outcome is that encroachments continue despite the High Court’s repeated orders to remove them.

But, why have the LMC drives been unsuccessful so far?

Corporation officials blame the police and political interference for the menace.
“We are unable to remove encroachments because encroachers enjoy police and political patronage. Our officials are beaten up by these encroachers. Recently, an assistant municipal commissioner was beaten up by a politician near Diamond Dairy. The police have yet to muster courage to lodge an FIR against him,” says an LMC  official on condition of anonymity.

“The residents  always blame the Corporation for not removing encroachments from the roads but never bother to stop those politicians and policemen who promote encroachments on roads,” he adds.

“At least, the police should ensure that the encroachers don’t return once the area has been cleaned by us. But, often the encroachers return after a few hours,” he says.

As per figures, the LMC nearly has 1000 ponds in the city and more than 60 per cent of them are encroached.

The corporation is fighting about 1000 cases of landgrabbing by influential persons in various courts. Over 40 per cent the corporation roads are encroached by pavement shopkeepers. In localities like Charbagh, Naka, Pan Dariba, Daliganj, Aminabad, Chowk, nearly 80 per cent roads are encroached. 

Municipal commissioner Ram Bodh Maurya says, “It’s the duty of the police to keep the encroachers away. We can only get rid of encroachments from the roads. Former municipal commissioner Alok Kumar had even written a letter to the DM requesting him to probe the role of police in ‘promoting’ encroachments in the city.”

Maurya admits that there is political interference when encroachments are removed from certain localities.

Says every time the corporation removes encroachment, political interference in removing the encroachments is also a problem.

“Well our senior officials are manhandles by the roadside politicians juast because they enjoy political patronage of higher level politicians, the recent Diamond diary case is an example , where our two officials were badly beaten and admitted in hospital but still I am running from pillar to post to lodge an FIR, how could I expect good work from my officers in this atmosphere.”