Municipality fails to destroy illegal marketplaces
KABUL (Pajhwok): The municipality in Kabul on Sunday launched a campaign to destroy illegally constructed buildings in the central capital, but faced with a strong reaction from a market owner.
President Ashraf Ghani recently ordered the Kabul municipality to close illegal buildings and others refusing to pay taxes to the government.
In compliance with his orders, the municipality on Sunday attempted to destroy Zardad Market, which had been illegally built in the Mandayee area in the first police district, but owners of the market stopped the municipality from doing so.
Mohammad Sarwar, director of controlling buildings at the department, told a press conference: “We with the support of police today came to Kabul Market (Kabul Mandayee) to stop the construction process of illegal buildings and close buildings that do not pay taxes, but we faced with strong reaction from their owners.”
He said Zardad Market was currently under construction without following municipality’s rules or paying government taxes. He said the municipality could not prevent powerful individuals from their illegal constructions and police should deal with them.
First district police chief Col. Gul Rahim, who participated in the campaign, said police were ready to help municipality in the process. “We are ready to stop any powerful individual from illegal activities,” he said.
A Pajhwok reporter in the area saw a government delegation tasked with preventing illegal constructions facing a harsh reaction from owners of Zardad Market, thus halting the market’s destruction.
Calling 10 percent of Kabul residential buildings as illegal, Mohammad Sarwar said under construction illegal buildings would be destroyed and those already constructed would be registered under a regulation.
Haji Sulaiman, one of the shopkeepers in Zardad Market, said: “Half of Kabul is divided among powerful individuals and they have built tall buildings but no one can ask them, while we have legal documents of our property and the government is stopping us from work.”
He said more than 80 shopkeepers had partnership to construct the market and there was no legal issue in their documents. Sulaiman added no one could stop them from work.
Another shopkeeper, Shafique, said earlier shops in the market were not built from concrete and were reduced to ashes in a recent fire incident. “Therefore we want to reconstruct the shops from concrete.”
“The government did not help us when our shops were gutted, but now it prevents us from reconstructing our shops,” he said.
Some three months ago, nearly 80 shops were torched in a fire in Zardad Market and caused millions of afghanis loss to shopkeepers.
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