Authorities sit on relocation of vendors

Alternate spaces yet to be developed

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 21 2017 12:28AM | Updated Date: Aug 21 2017 12:28AM
Authorities sit on relocation of vendorsFile Photo

Failure of authorities to relocate vendors from roads and footpaths to new spaces is proving to be major hurdle in addressing traffic jams in the summer capital.

Vendor rationalization which is one of the measures in the traffic management and mobility plan for the summer capital formulated under the supervision of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been hitting various hurdles.

Divisional commissioner (Kashmir), Baseer Ahmad Khan, vide letter number Dev/120/2017 dated 7 July 2017 had directed Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) that “not a single street vendor be allowed to be located on the road or pavement”. Instead of addressing the problem of street vendors, authorities have been sitting on the proposal to relocate them as most of the city roads continue to be dotted with vendors.

The divisional commissioner had directed the SMC that vendors at Hari Singh High Street, Amira Kadal, Lal Ded Hospital, Dalgate, Lal Chowk, Naaz Crossing be removed “within two days”. However, several commuters complained that not much has changed on the ground as mushrooming of street vendors continues to hamper smooth vehicular and pedestrian movement.

"The authorities are providing a free hand to the vendors who are openly occupying spaces meant for traffic and pedestrians. Every time the government puts vendors in a separate space they are back on roads in next few days," said Suhail Ahmad, a commuter.

In his letter to SMC, divisional commissioner has also asked commissioner SMC “to relocate vendors in the earmarked space carved out for this purpose”. As a part of the plan to develop various vendor markets, Roads and Buildings department was asked to macdamise newly created space for vendors opposite Khalsa School.

“It was further decided that SMC will ensure that no shopkeeper is allowed to display goods by dumping outside the shop on pavements or streets. SMC has been asked to initiate strict action against the defaulters,” the letter reads.

The J&K High Court in April, 2017 had directed the government to remove all streets vendors from roads and footpaths by May 1. The directions followed the court’s observation that the traffic situation in the state was “disturbing and messy.”

To mention, there are 2910 vendors from across city registered with the SMC for whom vendor markets on almost 20-30 kanals of land were to be set-up at various locations. Two proposed locations at Batamaloo and one at Malaysia near Cargo were identified by authorities to set-up the vendor markets but the departments involved have not been setting the ball rolling.