SMC Relocates Street Vendors, Frees Civil Lines

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SRINAGAR: – The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Wednesday relocated almost two thousand street vendors to the SRTC yard and Khalsa market in a bid to decongest the uptown.

Commuters were facing hardships due to frequent traffic jams in the commercial hub of the city. Traffic snarls were mostly due to the occupation of footpaths and roadsides by the street vendors.

Taking cognizance of the chaotic traffic the Divisional Bench of the State High Court last week had directed the state government to remove vendors before Durbar Move.

Acting on the directions of the High Court, SMC made an anti-encroachment squad of over a 50 men and relocated the vendors. However, many of them still continue to occupy the streets in Batmaloo.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, SMC Commissioner Dr. Shafqat Khan said, “We have almost rehabilitated over two thousand vendors and we are going to relocate street vendors of Batmaloo also to Sector 7 of Moominabad”.

He said SMC will ensure that there is no chaotic situation in the city anymore and ensue that they (vendors) earn their livelihood honourably.

Commuters heaved a sigh of relief as city witnessed less traffic jams on Wednesday.

“I can’t believe that I am in Lal Chowk right now—the much congested and chocked area it was, this move of authorities must be appreciated,” said commuter Rashid Ahmad Najar.

“There was hardly any space left for vehicles in the city centre as most of the space was occupied by vendors, as a result it would take more than an hour to reach Batmaloo from Lal Chowk, a distance of one kilometer,” said Umar Nazir, a business man.

Earlier, the vendors were relocated at the SMC yard in 2016, however, they were forcefully evicted from the yard during the summer uprising as they had refused to open the market.

Shabir Ahmad, president, Vendors Association Lal Chowk said, that authorities should not again evict us from here and if they do so we will come on streets,” he warned.

Pertinently, there are some 2,911 vendors from across the city registered with the SMC.

The Divisional Commissioner had directed for shifting of the vendors at Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Hari Singh High Street, Jehangir Chowk and Naaz Crossing to suitable locations.

Sargun Shukla SSP Traffic, Srinagar said, “there was much relief for the traffic department as the streets were vendor-free, the traffic was running smoothly and urged citizens to cooperate so that traffic system could be improved further.

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