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Street vendors occupy footpaths, roadsides in Srinagar


Srinagar, Sep 04: The commuters here in Srinagar city alleged that street vendors continue to hamper pedestrian and traffic movement despite repeated directions from the High Court on their removal.
They said that at city centre Lal Chowk and adjoining areas, shopkeepers occupy the footpaths and roads making the movement of vehicles and pedestrians difficult.
The officials have failed to act against the violators. “Most of the vendors have occupied roads and footpaths in Amira Kadal, Mahraja Bazar, Lalchock, Batmaloo and other parts of the city.
The Amirakadal footpath meant for pedestrians have been occupied by vendors creating traffic chaos on the bridge, which is the way for many local buses,” said a pedestrian.
The problem though is existent in the main part of the commercial hub but the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has done nothing concrete so far.
Sources said that the authorities have also failed to implement the directions of the High Court that were passed to ease the traffic congestion and free illegally occupied spaces in the city.
SMC had identified five vending zones at SRTC- -4- Partap Park, Khalisa School near Magarmal Bagh, Section-6, Batamaloo, Sector-5, Batamaloo Bandar Khah, Hazuri Bagh behind Block A & B near Children Park for the re-location of the street vendors but failed to re-locate them.
People alleged that these street vendors have become source of nuisance for tourists and locals in every nook and corner of Kashmir.
The street vendors are also seen occupying footpaths in, Boulevard and Dalgate, Lal Ded Hospital road, Hari Singh High Street, and all other major districts of Kashmir valley.
The occupation of footpaths in the City Centre hinders movement of tourists and locals who aspire to move in the area. “Due to presence of these street vendors we face problems to walk on the roads. This poses risk of accidents,” said a pedestrian Mohmmad Aslam and added that it is an open fact that these vendors carry their business either on the behest of politicians or some other influential people.
With footpath vendors occupying space on the streets, the vehicles could be seen struggling to move and pedestrians craving for a smooth walk, especially at some of the cities crowded places like Residency road, Amira Kadal, Goni Khan, Hari Singh High Street and Batamaloo.
In many places of the city footpaths do not technically exist, as they are either too narrow for people to walk on, or have been encroached forcing pedestrians onto the roads.
“To travel short distances, it takes hours to reach the destination as vendors have extended their carts on roads. Which results in frequent traffic jams and the bus runs at a snail’s pace,” said Imran Ahmad of Rajbagh.
“There is hardly any space left for people to move on the Amira Kadal Bridge as most of the bridge is occupied by vendors and fishermen, They (street vendors) should be removed from the pavements to ensure smooth movement of traffic and pedestrians safety,” said Aliya a college student.
The illegal occupiers maintain good liaison with some politically influential people to run their businesses on the footpaths. “It is an hours job for the police to free these foothpaths and roads from vendors, but they feel pressure at the top,” said another resident.
The vendors said that they are aware about the problems that pedestrians face but, “we have no other option. We know we are doing business on public place illegally, but this is the only way for income through which we are feeding our families.”