The investigation committee into the Murree tragedy has recommended the demolition of illegal buildings which were found to be blocking the traffic in Murree, possibly worsening the snow-packed blockade which took the lives of at least 23 tourists. The operation began in earnest on Monday with the sealing of several establishments.
The operation will proceed with the demolition of unlawfully built commercial complexes, plazas, hotels and apartments without parking spaces, according to municipal officer Raza Elahi, beginning with the sealings of constructions along Bansara Gali, Bhurban Road.
Already, 15 hotels in Murree have been sealed after they were found by the Rawalpindi district administration to be overcharging stranded tourists.
The five-member committee concluded its investigation today, with initial findings pointing to ‘administrative negligence‘ as a cause of the devastating deaths of 23 tourists which occurred on January 8, when a blizzard coated the hillside station in over four feet of snow.
The anti-encroachment drive, led by Raza Elahi, is just one of the recommendations from the investigation committee’s initial report, which indicated that illegal constructions along the Murree Expressway and byways had caused a ‘major obstacle’ to traffic flow.
A draft of the investigation committee’s full findings is expected to be submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in several days.
At a hearing last week, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah took to task the the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for what he termed an administrative ‘failure‘ in their response to the Murree tragedy.