Illegal parking chokes roads, vendors occupy spaces at will; tractors with trolleys back during work hours
SHOPIAN: As illegal car parking goes unchecked, hundreds of private cars, bikes and commercial vehicles are parked on either side of the main roads in this south Kashmir town. Street vendors set up their businesses in the middle of the roads, resulting in major traffic mess in the town.
Illegal parking, residents claim, creates hurdles for free movement of ambulances, school buses and pedestrians.
Top officials from district administration, accompanied by members of municipal committee Shopian, on Monday removed a large number of streets vendors. However, the vendors were back as soon as the officials left the market.
District authorities had recently banned the entry of tractors with trolleys into the town during work hours, but the order was in force only for a couple of days. Tractors carrying construction material in their trolleys from Rambiara to different parts of town can again be seen moving through the town during the day, choking traffic in the town.
“Despite narrow roads in the town, people park vehicles on the roadside. They don’t care about other people. There is hardly any space left for emergency vehicles like ambulances,” said Sharik Hussain Bhat who was stuck in traffic near Gol Chowk in the town.
“The district administration must take steps against people who were occupying roads by parking their vehicles on roads in major parts of the town.”
A group of pedestrians told Kashmir Reader that they face hardships because traffic in the town was not regulated. “Traffic department provides licences to people who have little knowledge of traffic rules,” a pedestrian remarked.
Students from schools in Shopian complain that they are late to school as illegally parked vehicles leave little space for other vehicles. Office goers allege that traffic mess in the town leaves them with no chance to reach their work in time. “Authorities watch this mess as mute spectators,” Gulzar Ahmed, who works in ITI Shopian, said.
Adnan Tak, a shopkeeper near Jamia Masjid told Kashmir Reader that an ambulance on Sunday was stuck in the traffic jam. “I heard cries of a lady who was in ambulance, I came out of my shop and tried to make way for ambulance but failed because vehicles were parked in the centre of the road,” Tak said.
Residents of the town allege that traffic department was turning a blind eye to the traffic mess. “Last year, they would go around the town using a tow-truck to seize illegally parked vehicles. But this year, they are enjoying in their cosy offices,” a resident alleged.
A top traffic police official told Kashmir Reader that they have dearth of staffers. “We are only six persons who deal with traffic in whole district. Among these, I have to put three officers near four-way road to conduct smooth traffic. We have to conduct challans and other official work too,” he said.
He added that he recently discussed this issue with deputy commissioner Shopian but no increments in staff have been made yet. “Due to the law and order situation we were not able to conduct our duties smoothly, if police and ARTO would help us, we will seize the vehicles,” he added. “Without adequate staff, we are helpless.”