Residential colonies in Baramulla turning into commercial hubs

Greater Kashmir

The residential colonies in various areas of Baramulla town are fast turning into commercial hubs in complete violation of government norms.

The town is already without residential colonies while the areas registered by the government for residential purposes are being used for commercial purposes, leaving the inhabitants of these areas “high and dry”. The town has some old registered residential colonies in Kanli Bagh, Noor Bagh and parts of Khoja Bagh area but the colonies are fast turning into commercial hubs.

“It has become a nuisance in the town. The link roads and inner lanes witness chaos due to frequent movement of heavy vehicles in these areas during the day time and late night hours,” said Muhammad Aijaz, a resident of Baramulla town.

The residents said the movement of heavy vehicles carrying goods and other material creates traffic chaos near the main market (Tehsil Point) which even at the time of normal flow of vehicles remains congested.

“This has become a routine for us. We fear leaving our homes for offices and other work because of this mess,” Aijaz said.

The residents said they had approached the district administration a number of times to complain about this nuisance in the residential colonies but in vain.

“Instructions were given to Revenue officials to ascertain how commercial activities are going on in residential areas but the directions remained confined to only papers,” another resident said.

Despite the opposition by the inhabitants some influential people in the town have also managed to construct big godowns in residential colonies adjacent to their homes.

“We don’t understand who allows them to construct commercial buildings in residential areas. It seems that the authorities in Baramulla Municipal Council are hand-in-glove with these illegal constructions because such constructions should not be allowed in residential areas,” said Javid Ahmad, another resident.

The presence of godowns in residential areas has badly affected the normal life of the inhabitants.

“These areas are meant for residential purposes and should be noise free ideally but these have turned into commercial hubs due to inefficiency of the successive administrators who failed to put a check on such illegal constructions,” a resident said.

Besides creating mess in normal days, the presence of godowns in residential areas adds to the miseries of the inhabitants during lockdowns or strikes when the markets remain shut.

“In normal days we witness movement of heavy motor vehicles and during shutdown, these areas remain in a mess as the businessmen call their customers to the godowns for purchases,” another resident said.

The government recently transferred the Deputy Commissioner from Baramulla and his successor is yet to join the post.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Municipal Council Baramulla, Imtiyaz ul Haq said the matter would be looked into.