Authorities sit on encroachment of roads, footpaths; City-centre areas worst affected

Failure of authorities to remove encroachment from roads and footpaths is taking a heavy toll on vehicular and pedestrian movement.

Authorities sit on encroachment of roads, footpaths; City-centre areas worst affectedThe entire stretch of footpaths and roadsides at city centre areas including Regal Chowk, Ghanta Ghar, Amira Kadal, Hari Singh High Street, LD Crossing and Batamaloo has been encroached upon by street vendors and shopkeepers who place their goods there—hampering pedestrian and vehicular movement.

At city centre Lal Chowk, street vendors have encroachment upon footpaths causing immense inconvenience to pedestrians. “Due to encroachment of footpaths near Biscoe School and Ghanta Char people including students are forced to walk on main road. This poses risk of accidents. We wonder why the authorities are sitting over this serious issue,” said a group of commuters.

At Court road, several shopkeepers have blocked the road by placing stones and ropes. “Several shopkeepers have encroached upon the roadsides at Court road and disallow parking of vehicles there. This is sheer highhandedness by these shopkeepers which has been encroached upon by inaction of SMC and Traffic authorities,” said Mehraj Ahmad, a commuter.

Footpaths on both sides of Amira Kadal have also been encroached by street vendors. People face a tough time to even walk through the Hari Singh High Street as most of the shopkeepers place their goods on footpaths while street vendors block the roadsides.

“Some carpet sellers place their entire goods on main roads. There is hardly any place to walk or park vehicles at this market,” said a group of commuters at Hari Singh High Street.

Pertinently, the Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had many times directed authorities to take immediate measures to streamline traffic management in the city by removing encroachment from roads and footpaths. However, SMC and allied department have failed to implement the directives.

When contacted an officer of SMC acknowledged the problem. “We many times launched drive against shopkeepers and street vendors who encroach upon the footpaths and roadsides. However, we had to stop the drives half-way due to political pressure.”