Srinagar: Paramilitary force CRPF’s continued occupation of more than 50 residential houses in Karan Nagar is troubling the business community with traders arguing that the properties if vacated can help in the expansion of commercial activity in the area.
Kashmir Traders Federation (KTF) spokesman Aijaz Shahdar told Kashmir Reader that properties, which are mostly privately owned by both Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims, were taken over by the CRPF two decades before when armed conflict started in Valley.
“Market is growing and so is the business activity. But the lack of enough space and infrastructure for commercial purpose in the market is affecting our business. This lack of infrastructure can be fulfilled only by the vacation of CRPF troops from these houses,” Shahdar said, adding that extra space to the Karan Nagar market would lend some more business to this commercial hub.
Shahdar said the troops mostly park their vehicles on the main roads in the area which causes inconveniences not only to traders but also to the customers.
“CRPF presence also obstructs the free movement of people and makes it difficult for shopkeepers to carry out their day-to-day operations,” he said.
KTF and Traders Federation Karan Nagar (TFKN) have also taken up the issue with state administration, but to no avail.
CRPF spokesman Ashish Kumar Jha said that the deployment of CRPF personnel at any location is decided by the local police. He refuted the claims that presence of CRPF was affecting the day-to-day business operations at Karan Nagar.
“Security presence is a long pending issue and some houses were vacated last year at Karan Nagar. Our presence is not creating any obstruction to the traders,” Jha said.
Shahdar said that lack of street lights and haphazard electrical wiring in the area is also hampering the business activities. He demanded immediate installation of street lights and renovation of electrical wiring in the business hub.