Srinagar: Residents and traders of Downtown here have expressed resentment over lack of parking facilities saying this is affecting their normal life and business respectively.
The residents of Downtown including Maharaj Gunj, Nowhatta, Aali Kadal, Bohri-Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, and Gojwara, rued lack of parking facilities.
“Getting a parking spot in Downtown areas is impossible. Downtown is cultural hub of Srinagar. Ironically, authorities are not doing enough to address the parking issue, said Irshad Ahmad of Nowhatta.
“When there is no parking space, there are arguments and scuffles at times between commuters. Recently one of my friends parked a vehicle there and Traffic authorities flattened the tires of his vehicle by using a sharp object. It cost him a hefty amount to replace the tire of the vehicle. When there is no parking space, where should the commuters go?” he rued.
The business community of Downtown said that being the commercial hub, lack of parking facilities is affecting their business.
Ayaz Zehgeer, a functionary of Beopar Mandal Maharaj Gunj, one of the oldest business organizations in the area said that the shoppers don’t prefer to visit the area which was once full of hustle-bustle.
“The main reason is that they know there is a parking issue and they will be stuck. When there are no parking spaces, people are forced to park on the roads,” Zehgeer said.
The locals said that encroachment is also another issue that is creating problems. They said that vendors have set up their stalls on roads which not only hinder traffic but also pedestrian movement.
“If we are going to make Srinagar a smart city, how can we ignore Downtown. These are the basic issues which should be addressed first,” said another local.
Chairman Shaher-e-Khaas Traders Coordination Committee Nazir Ahmad Shah said the traders are suffering losses due to lack of parking facilities mainly in Zaina Kadal, Maharaj Gunj and Bohri Kadal areas.
Shah said that in 2012, a committee had identified a spot at Zaina Kadal for construction of parking facilities. “However, despite the passing of nine years, there has been no progress,” he said.
A senior official from the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) said that they are going to make proposals to address the parking issue in Downtown.
“We had taken up this issue many times in the past as well but the main problem that we are facing is unavailability of land to execute parking projects. The area is congested and we are unable to execute these plans. We will soon find a way so that the issue is addressed on priority,” said the official.