The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation got into hot water on Tuesday after it demolished several rickshaws parked under the Patel Para bridge in Karachi.
It was part of an anti-encroachment drive in District East areas, including Teen Hatti, Lasbela and Patel Para.
After the operation, a video went viral on social media which shows KMC’s anti-encroachment department demolishing rickshaws using heavy machinery.
The first impression of most people was that the KMC had started snatching the ‘bread and butter’ of poor rickshaw drivers. KMC, however, has a different story to tell.
It says the rickshaws are “unclaimed”. “The abandoned rickshaws have been parked under the Patel Para bridge for the last seven months or so,” said Amin Lakhani, a deputy director of the KMC anti-encroachment department. He supervised Tuesday’s operation.
Lakhani said KMC made several announcements to remove the rickshaws from the said locations before starting its operation.
The rickshaw owners were rushed to the spot after the announcements and took away their rickshaws, but three rickshaws remained unclaimed. “No one came to take them,”Lakhani said.
He said KMC then demolished the three rickshaws and dozens of ‘patharas’ under the Patel Para bridge.
Several cabins and different items of nearby hotels and restaurants which were kept at the side of footpaths were also removed.
A police team arrested six people who attempted to interrupt KMC’s anti-encroachment operation.
Lakhani said that people in area registered several complaints with the KMC over these encroachments, saying that they were causing a traffic jam at Patel Para and its adjacent areas.
KMC Anti-encroachment Department Senior Director Bashir Siddiqui, too, said the rickshaws had been placed under the bridge for several months.
He said the mechanics in the area were habitual of using the spare parts from these abandoned rickshaws for other rickshaws.
Drug users would often use the rickshaws at night to sit, Siddiqui said.
SAMAA Digital visited the area and noticed that dozens of rickshaws are still parked under the bridge.
Residents say this is a common problem which causes trouble for pedestrians.