Traders allege corruption in heritage trail project

Dawn

PESHAWAR: Traders here have alleged corruption in heritage trail project from Gor Khatri to Ghanta Ghar and demanded a probe into the matter to recover the huge funds and award punishment to those involved in the substandard construction.

“The construction of heritage trail has created obstructions in the movement of a vast population, while the barriers have choked the entire drainage system and as a result the rainwater directly goes into our shops and residential quarters,” said Malik Mehr Ilahi, a senior businessman, while talking to mediapersons here on Thursday.

He said that the project had been initiated as an effort to make Peshawar clean and green for the dwellers and tourists, but it affected the business community and people of the area.

“Former chief minister Pervez Khattak during inaugural ceremony of the project had promised to compensate the shopkeepers and traders affected by the heritage trail scheme, but the provincial government did not fulfil its commitment so far,” he said.

The trader said that the local people and traders were not allowed to bring their vehicles even for transportation of patients and schoolchildren due to the heritage trail and the ban had also affected business activities in the area.

He claimed that the project had affected at least 5,500 shopkeepers in 16 bazaars and residents of 19 streets in the thickly-populated locality.

Meanwhile, a delegation of traders led by MPA Samar Bilour also held a meeting with provincial senior minister Atif Khan on Thursday and apprised him of the reservations of business community and local people.

The MPA informed the minister that she had also visited the area and described the traders’ complaints as genuine.

She said that the government should order inquiry into the matter to address the grievances of business community and take action against those involved in the substandard construction.

Other traders, including Asif Khan, Rehman Gul and Zahoor Ilahi, also demanded of the government to open the roads to general public and review the construction plan to ensure maintenance of sewerage system as during rains the people had to pump out rainwater from their houses.

They said that they had contacted all the relevant people for resolution of their problems, but to no avail. They warned to announce a shutter down strike in case the provincial government did not address their grievances.

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