Authorities sit on relocation of street vendors in Srinagar

Smart Vending Zone project yet to be completed
Authorities sit on relocation of street vendors in Srinagar
Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK

Srinagar, Aug 1: Due to lack of designated vending spots, street vendors have encroached upon public places in the summer capital affecting traffic and pedestrian movement.

As per estimates, there are more than 6,000 street vendors in the city, which are to be relocated to a smart vending zone under the Smart City project.

With slow progress on their shifting, the vendors have occupied city roads including Hari Singh High Street, Lal Chowk, Dalgate, Maharaja Bazar, Batamaloo, Khanyar, Khayam, Soura, Sonwar, Nowhatta, Bohri Kadal, Habba Kadal, Kak Sarai and Bypass.

Because of this, these bustling public spaces have been transformed into congested marketplaces, severely restricting free movement of people and vehicles.

Though the issues of livelihood of street vendors is also a major concern, the officials said that under Smart city there will be good spaces for vendors. One of the pedestrians, Atif Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that the authorities should give a proper space to the vendors so that they can happily earn their livelihood.

He said that occupying public spaces creates a traffic mess and restricts pedestrian movement.

"When authorities have long back constructed vending zones, why is there inordinate delay in shifting these vendors there. These vendors block traffic on vital roads. What is the fun of spending so much money on making Srinagar a Smart city, if these vendors occupy streets and roads," he said.

Another pedestrian said that the situation is particularly dire at Hari Singh High Street, Amira Kadal and Maharaja Bazar, where vendors have taken over the entire stretch up to LD Hospital, leaving minimal room for pedestrians to navigate.

However, officials said that measures are being considered to address the situation. Mohd Syed, Encroachment officer at Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) told Greater Kashmir that there are concrete plans for relocating of the vendors under Smart city project.

"There will be proper spaces for the vendors like in Batamaloo. So, the work is going on and soon the issue of vendors also will be sorted out," he said. As per the officials, the construction work at Batamaloo area for street vendors is going on. The vendors’ space at Jahangir Chowk is almost ready.

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