RAWALPINDI, July 7: Terming almost 300 dilapidated buildings in the city vulnerable to any mishap during the ongoing monsoon season, the Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA) on Saturday served eviction notices on their residents.
A senior RTMA official told Dawn on Saturday that it was a normal practice that each year the civic body served the notices to the residents of old and dilapidated structures before the monsoon season to avoid any untoward incidents.
He said that the notices were aimed at providing a face-saving to the civic body at the time of any damage.
The buildings which have received the notices include some historical ones like Government High School Ziaul Uloom, Raja Bazaar, Shimla High School for Boys and Haveli Sujhan Singh Bhabara Bazaar and some others.
Besides, some buildings in market along Mughal Saray commonly known Katra, buildings in Moti Bazaar, Bara Market, Sabzi Mandi and adjoining bazaars where traders established store rooms and labourers were residing also were also served with eviction notices.
The people residing in these dilapidated buildings say that they know that they are sitting on a powder keg but “we were helpless, as we have no choice but to live here”.
They said that if the government was interested in improving the things then it should take some measures before the monsoon season as it would be difficult for the people with limited resources to vacate the house for two months of monsoon.
Moen Ahmed, a resident of Mochi Bazaar, said that his family and some other people had been living in old buildings since the partition of Sub-continent and they had no other place to shift. He said a building provided abode to three families and nobody would leave the place to lose their property to other family.
Rawal Town Administrator Saif Anwar Jappa told Dawn that the RTMA had issued notices to the residents of these dangerous buildings to vacate or renovate them before the advent of monsoon to avoid any untoward situation.
He said that the residents of these buildings were not willing to vacate their houses due to multiple reasons. He said the civic body was also helpless as it would not be able to help them to renovate it. “The building law of the province is silent in this regard and the civic body conducted the survey and informed the residents about the danger looming over them,” he said.
He said that mostly the buildings were owned by private people, and the government departments like Evacuee Trust, Education Department and others had also owned some buildings in the downtown and it was the responsibility of the owner of the building to improve the condition of the structure.
He said the RTMA had also served notices on the residents of low-lying areas along Nullah Leh and asked to shift to their relatives’ houses and on rented houses to avoid flood like situation in the monsoon.