Vendors congest city, authorities unmoved

Vendors congest city, authorities unmoved
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Nazima Sidiq
Srinagar: The street vendors in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk and other localities of Srinagar have accused the authorities of reneging on the promise of relocating them at designated places.
The authorities had promised them relocation after the 2016 public uprising began ebbing in the last months of the year.
The vendors have occupied footpaths pending government’s decision to relocate them. Consequently, the occupation of footpaths is forcing the pedestrians to walk on main roads already clogged with parked and moving vehicles.
From the Residency Road through Lal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk and all the way till Batamaloo, the scene remains similar as hundreds of vendors have installed carts and beds along the roads.
“People face a tough time to walk through these roads. The SMC is unconcerned about the problems which they are creating for pedestrians by allowing them to occupy footpaths and roads” said Athar Rafiq of Maisuma.
While authorities are in slumber, footpath vendors now have taken most of the space in the city centre. The occupation has multiplied to three layers, pedestrians complain.
“While earlier these roadside vendors used to occupy the footpaths on Sundays only, hundreds of them have now made the pavements their usual station leaving no space for the pedestrians to walk on,” said Manzoor Bakshi of Rawalpora.
The same rehabilitated vendors at these zones had moved out of the squatter markets and set-up their businesses right outside the constructed markets on the main road which compounded the problem of traffic jams.
Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner Dr Shafqat Khan said, “We have found extra place for the vendors. The places where they have to be rehabilitated are under construction. One the places are ready, you will not see a single street vendor on footpaths,” he said adding the places have been identified at Batamaloo and Children’s Park.
He said the vendors would be identified with specific licenses. The SMC officials say that more than 2000 vendors have been registered in Srinagar but they don’t possess licenses.