Habitual street vendors reluctant to relocate, SMC hopeful to clear mess

Habitual street vendors reluctant to relocate, SMC hopeful to clear mess

SRINAGAR: Despite high court’s order to remove street vendors from different places in capital Srinagar by May 1, an army of street vendors continued to occupy slots on the roadsides.
The street vendors have occupied a sizeable space in Lal Chowk and Batamaloo area which hampered the smooth movement of traffic. As per the official data by SMC, there are more than 2000 registered vendors with the civic body.
“We cannot shift to the allotted spaces to us as the places are not perfect for our business. If they want to relocate us they must allot an appropriate space where we can run our business,” said Farooq Ahmad, a vendor of Amira Kadal.
“One day they (authorities) allot us a space and the other day it is snatched,” another vendor Mohammad Yousuf said.
The identified space for Amira Kadal street vendors is near SBI building at Lal Chowk.
“Yesterday Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) authorities came here and ordered us to shift on foot path till the new space was fully developed,” said Bashir Ahamd,  a Batamaloo vendor.
The J&K High Court on Wednesday ordered the authorities to remove all street vendors from roads and footpaths by May 1.
At places, people who were not getting easy passage through the market were seen jostling with the vendors.
Gulzar Ahmed, a shopkeeper said that the vendors occupy the street soon after the visit of police. “As police leaves, they again occupy the streets and don’t let customers to get into the shop. We are facing the huge loss because of them,” Ahmad said.
The drive was started last year also which only lasted for a month. Then again, the same scene of occupying streets by vendors was witnessed in the city.
Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Dr Shafkat Khan said, “As per court order we have relocated these street vendors and hawkers. The vendors who had occupied footpaths and roadsides in Lal Chowk and its adjacent markets were shifted to SRTC bus yard, which has been converted into a market exclusive for them,” Khan said.
“In case of the street vendors around LD hospital,  Malasiya site has been proposed. It will take some in relocation but I can assure that within days the vendors won’t be visible on the roadsides,” he added.
The SMC Sanitation officer Manzoor Ahmad Turay said that the vendors were habitual street occupiers and it would take some time for them to change their habit.

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