A joke doing the rounds during the National Conference’s rule was you could construct a shop in the middle of a busy street, just that it had to have the party flag flying on top. But the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its ally, the Congress, appear to be firm on the clean-up drive. Says finance minister Muzaffar Hussain Baigh: "We know that unauthorised constructions couldn’t have been possible without a go-ahead from the previous regime. But that doesn’t mean we’ll play ball. We cannot stop, whatever the overt or covert pressures."
Baigh, however, added that genuine victims of the drive would be accommodated when the government builds authorised shopping complexes. The problem is entire markets have come up with total disregard to the civic layout. Efforts are also on to clean up the Dal lake and pull up establishments releasing effluents into its waters.