Baramulla: The congested footpaths coupled with choked drains and traffic mess have become an order of the day in Baramulla town which is giving a tough time to the shoppers and commuters.
One of the ancient towns, which has acted as a gateway to the Kashmir has been left unattended by the district administration.
This is probably the only town across Kashmir without a designated parking place for the last many years.
“The lack of parking space is causing inconveniences to the general public as well as the commuters who visit the town for different purposes. The customers face a tough time while shopping as they don’t get a proper space to park their vehicles,” said Tariq Ahmad, a local shopkeeper of the town.
Given the non-availability of the parking space, the shoppers from different areas park their vehicles on Cement Bridge which causes massive traffic congestion in the town.
The traffic congestion, most of the times, results in the exchange of heated arguments between the commuters and the Police deployed in the town as Police does not allow parking on bridges while the commuters do not have any particular slot available to park their cars.
Most of the time, policemen deflate the tyres of the cars.
“We have no option than to deflate the tyres because we receive brickbats from officers for not manning the flow of traffic in the town,” said an angry policeman on duty.
“People should then park their cars outside the DC office to let the administration know that the town doesn’t have a proper space. But if they park their vehicles on the bridge, we have to act,” he said on why the tyres were being deflated despite the administration failing to provide any parking space in the town.
As a temporary measure, the administration had allowed parking of vehicles in the main chowk Baramulla on a roadside in front of shops.
But the same space has been allotted to some street vendors and auto-rickshaw drivers, causing a traffic mess in the market.
“The mess at four-way chowk which joins with the old hospital road has become a headache for every passerby as the passenger vehicles including mini buses and cabs stop at the junction to pick the passengers. The spot mostly remains choked and gives headache to commuters and passersby equally,” said Shahid Ahmad, a resident of Khoja Bagh.
“At times the cops deployed here feel frustrated while manning the traffic,” he said.
A top Police officer in Baramulla said it was the job of the civil administration to provide a parking facility to the people.
“Our cops unnecessarily bear the brunt as they face anger of the people and at times they also get angry and face hatred. We had identified a parking space in the town and discussed it with the municipal authorities as well. We will again take up the matter with the administration,” the officer said.
Besides lack of parking space, the administration has failed to decongest the footpaths illegally occupied by the shopkeepers in the town.
The shopkeepers erect their stock on the footpaths and keep it blocked for the pedestrians.
The Baramulla Municipal Corporation (BMC) is in deep slumber to clear the footpaths for the pedestrians.
“The leniency shown by the authorities to the shopkeepers to install their stalls on footpaths is creating inconvenience to the masses. This illegal encroachment has become a mess,” said Javed Ahmad, who runs a shop near main chowk Baramulla.
Besides, traffic chaos and congested footpaths, the clogged drains here has become a nuisance for shopkeepers and the passersby.
The drain from the General Bus Stand to Saint Joseph’s Higher Secondary School was constructed by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) more than a decade ago.
But it has been left unattended by the concerned officers, leaving the residents and the visitors at the receiving end.
“The drain is constructed above the surface level of the road due to which it does not serve the purpose of draining excess water. The irony is that the drain has no outlet as well,” said Yaqoob Ahmad, a local.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Bhupinder Kumar admitted the lack of parking space in the town and said various proposals were being worked out to resolve the issue.
“Baramulla is one of the oldest towns but it has the problem of parking space. We are working on some proposals and will take some measures,” he said.
Kumar said that the traffic sense of the people had to be corrected as they find cars haphazardly parked in the middle of the road.
“There are constraints in terms of availability of space but we will try our best to do whatever we can,” he said.
About the clogged drain in the town he said the Detailed Project Report (DPR) was being prepared and the issue would be resolved.