Greater Kashmir received many complaints from traders and commuters around Jehangir Chowk area, Srinagar downtown, Hazratbal, and its adjoining areas [File]
Greater Kashmir received many complaints from traders and commuters around Jehangir Chowk area, Srinagar downtown, Hazratbal, and its adjoining areas [File] Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Encroachment of roads by street vendors leaves pedestrians at risk in Srinagar

No action by administration to restrict vendors from illegally occupying the roads and footpaths

Srinagar: The encroachment of Srinagar roads by street vendors have created problems for commuters and business establishments.

The commuters across Srinagar and daily commuters said that the continuous encroachment by vendors is rampant in the City Center and other Srinagar areas.

They said that it results in prolonged traffic jams, creating inconvenience to them.

Greater Kashmir received many complaints from traders and commuters around Jehangir Chowk area, Srinagar downtown, Hazratbal, and its adjoining areas.

“As a daily commuter, it is a headache to navigate around these vendors. Be it the City Center, downtown, or the Hazratbal area, there is no end to this encroachment. Not only footpaths, but vendors have set up their stalls on main roads too, creating bottlenecks. We are often stuck in traffic jams due to this issue,” said Muhammad Shahid, a commuter.

The traders said that it has affected their businesses as their shops are blocked by these vendors.

“It has affected the footfall of customers and our business. Shoppers don’t stop in front of our shops as there is no space to stop their vehicles and the entire area is occupied by the vendors. People also avoid it because they don’t want to get stuck in a traffic jam,” said Adil Ahmed, a downtown shopkeeper.

The traders said that the roadside parking due to the unavailability of parking zones has added to the issue.

“We cannot blame the roadside vendors only. Yes, there is the issue of roadside vendors but illegal parking on roads is equally responsible for traffic jams. The government should create special parking zones and vendor zones to address the issue,” said Sajad Ahmad, a pedestrian at Hazratbal.

The vendors said that unless the government creates spaces for them they have no other alternative.

“Where are we supposed to go? We have to feed our families and for that, we set up these stalls. Until the government creates alternatives for us, we have no other option. We want special zones made at good business sites so that our businesses don’t get affected,” said Javaid Ahmed, a vendor at Lal Chowk.

Greater Kashmir did a series of stories on the issue of roadside vendors.

A senior official from Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) told Greater Kashmir that the work on a special zone for street vendors was about to be completed and the issue would be resolved soon.

Anti-Encroachment Officer of SMC, Bashir Ahmed Bhat said that they had been carrying out multiple anti-encroachment drives regularly.

“We have carried such drives in the past but unfortunately, vendors are coming back. We are carrying these drives daily and also imposing fines on the violators. In the past few days, we carried out anti-encroachment drives around Maharaj Bazaar, Nowhatta, and its adjoining areas,” Bhat said.

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