Public Comfort made miserable by street vendors: HC

Srinagar—Observing that comfort of the general public has been made miserable by street vendors, the J&K High Court has ordered intensifying anti-encroachment drive even as it ordered strict implementation of observing holidays by shopkeepers either on Sunday or Friday as directed by the government.

“Keeping in view the comfort of the general public which has been made miserable by the street vendors and other business establishments by encroaching upon the pavements and even road sides, anti-encroachment drive has to be intensified, for so doing police assistance is must, therefore, we direct IGP Kashmir to make proper arrangement by providing police assistance from any source other than police stations so as to enable the anti-encroachment squad to remove all the encroachments,” said a division bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey.

Meanwhile, in compliance to February 12 order, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Srinagar, filed compliance report, stating that SRO 472 has been issued on 16 November last year and same is being implemented in the field and the shops and establishment owners have to observe specific day closures.

He said a meeting has been convened with the Traders Federation who had resisted to observe alternate closures and were requested to observe Sundays and Fridays as close days. Traders Federation in-fact were advised to approach the Administrative Department for amendment, if any required. He said while enforcing strict observance to SRO 472, shops and other business establishments shuttled down their shops and have shown total resentment, therefore, Labour Department requires some assistance. “We make it clear that till any representation is filed and considered by the Administrative Department for change in SRO 472, the Court order shall be implemented in its letter and spirit,” the division bench said. In case Labour department will face any difficulty, the court said, they shall approach the concerned authorities who shall provide proper protection for enforcement of closure days. “Law is law, has to be enforced in its real spirit. Violators thereof shall be dealt with in accordance with law by launching proper action against them. Labour Commissioner, shall take appropriate steps in this behalf and shall file latest status report on the next date as to how these closure days are being followed.”

Meanwhile, Srinagar Municipal Corporation submitted in 2014 a list of 2911 street vendors who were found to be conducting business in different parts of Srinagar city have been prepared.

In the first instance, the Corporation has developed five vending zones at SRTC-Partap Park, Khalisa School near Magarmal Bagh, Batamaloo, Sector-5, Batamaloo Bandar Khah and Hazuri Bagh behind Block A & B near Children Park.

Counsel for SMC said re-location of street vendors to the vending zones created or intended to be created was in process which requires assistance from the District Administration as well as police which will help to make these designated vending zones operational and will also help in removing their encroachments from pavements as well as from road sides.

“We direct the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir as well as IGP, Kashmir, to provide whatever assistance is required by the Municipal Corporation for shifting these vendors who are running their business on streets and even on roads, to the vending zones,” the court said and directed both the authorities to file respective compliance report by or before next date of hearing in the PIL.

Is Panthachowk Bus Terminal Functional?

The high court also asked RTO to file his report as to whether Panthachowk Bus Terminal is operational or not.

The direction by a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey followed after Ateeb Kanth, Amicus stated that it is not operational while government advocate Umer, appearing on behalf of SDA, stated that it is operational.

N.A.Baba, regarding four-lanning of national highway submitted a report, however, Amicus. J.H.Reshi stated that he may be given some time to file detailed application so as to highlight as to what are the shortcomings and deficiencies.

“He shall be at liberty to file the application, copy in advance be furnished to learned counsel for the respondents.”

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