Hawkers continue to clog footpaths in Srinagar city

Srinagar: Road side vendors Saturday re-occupied city footpaths shortly after Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation and District Magistrate Srinagar disappeared from the scene. A team of officials including Commissioner SMC Bashir Ahmed Khan, District Magistrate Srinagar Farooq Ahmed Lone and SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar visited different places of the city including Residency Road Srinagar. Prior to their arrival the police had cleared all the footpaths from vendors right from Regal Chowk to Biscoe School while area around Clock Tower up to Amira Kadal was also been cleared.

Surprisingly, the vendors in full police glare re-occupied their respective illegal spots shortly after the team of officials left for their respective offices.

The footpaths along with Biscoe School and Amira Kadal have been turned into makeshift markets. “Not SMC but make police accountable if you want to see clear and open footpaths in Srinagar city,” a driver who was requesting a vendor to move his cart a bit away from the middle of the road near Ghanta Ghar told CNS.

Almost all the footpaths along major thoroughfares in the city have been grabbed by hawkers causing immense sufferings to pedestrians and creating crippling traffic congestions every day.   The grabbers can’t care less about the trouble that they are creating for pedestrians by occupying footpaths and causing thousands of lost hours of the commuters in intractable traffic jams on the city streets.   “Even after being evicted by the authorities concerned several times, the vendors appear again and one fails to understand who is backing them,” said a traffic cop manning traffic in the city.   Many pedestrians expressed frustration over the sufferings and blamed the law enforcers for their indifference to the situation.   Pedestrians said the hawkers and vendors run a range of businesses on footpaths, blocking pedestrian movement. Furthermore, parked cars, rickshaws and carts, makeshift shops and messy Sumo stands have magnified the problem. “It is irony that traders not only erect stalls outside their shops but also park their vehicles in front of their shops despite the parking slot available to them at a stone’s throw,” said a pedestrian.

“Footpaths trading, illegal car parking, setting up of small shops or stockpiling of construction materials on footpaths go on as the authorities are reluctant to take actions against the offenders,” a scribe said. 

Bashir Ahmed Khan, Commissioner SMC told CNS that he knows vendors re-occupied foot paths after his visit. “I visited the city centre on the directions of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to clear footpaths and identify the available space for the parking. We asked all the foothpath and roadside vendors to close their illegal business for two weeks. There are 2910 registered vendors and we will relocate them at many places of the city including Batamaloo, General Bus Stand. It will take us some two weeks to develop markets for these vendors. Last year we had done Adhar Linked Registration of these 2910 vendors and copies of these registered vendors have been sent to all departments including Police and Crime Branch. 

Except these registered vendors nobody will be accommodated in the markets that we will develop in these two weeks,” Khan said and added that till markets are developed, vendors will stay at home.

Commissioner SMC further said that traders have also been directed not to park their vehicles outside their shops. “We will develop some more parking slots in the city. Nobody will be allowed to park their vehicles on the road. You will find a major change from Monday,” Khan claimed. (CNS)


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