SRINAGAR: To protect their “privacy”, residents of Karan Nagar locality in Srinagar have blocked four of the main six lanes to prevent entry of vehicles, causing huge inconvenience to people who pass through the area. The residents argue that the barricades protect their privacy, which has been breached by the unchecked entry of commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses inside their colony.
The barricades they have erected are such, however, that not even two-wheelers can pass through them. Office employees and businessmen were the main commuters who used these lanes that have been blockaded since November 18, when a barricade made of concrete and iron was placed in the middle of the lanes by the Resident Welfare Society of Gole Market.
Irfan Shah, who works at a private office situated near Karan Nagar, said the blockade has closed routes that he had been using for years.
“I go home late in the evening because of the kind of office work I am engaged in. I live at Chattabal, a locality situated ahead of Karan Nagar. Through the Karan Nagar lanes I reached home early and safely, but after the barricades came up, I have to take another route, which lengthens my journey and makes my safety vulnerable in the late hours,” Irfan said.
Atif, another daily commuter, said, “My office is at Lal Chowk and I live in Bemina. I used to take the Bemina-Karan Nagar road to reach my office. I would take the Jahangir Chowk-Karan Nagar road which used to cut through lanes of Karan Nagar and reach Bemina crossing. After the erection of these barricades, I have to take another route that has increased my travel time to home by half an hour. It is a huge inconvenience.”
The barricades have also caused inconvenience to transporters who used these lanes to reach the Batamaloo Chowk, saving themselves precious hours.
SSP Traffic Tahir Saleem Khan along with SHO Karan Nagar have already visited the spot and ensured commuters that these barricades will be lifted. The SSP said he has written to the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar to have the barricades removed. A senior officer told Kashmir Reader that a report has been filed and the final call will be taken after keeping the interests of the residents in consideration.
Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Riyaz Wani, told Kashmir Reader that he will visit the colony within two days to examine the situation.
“I will keep the interests of the residents and of the public in mind. The residents have a right to put barricades if their privacy has been breached. I will see how they have done it. If it needs alteration, I will suggest it to them, so that public movement is not affected,” Wani said.
Abdul Majid, General Secretary of the Residents Welfare Society Gole Market, has a different take. According to him, the privacy of residents was breached when the lanes began to be used for traffic movement and parking purposes.
“We had written to the SMC Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner, and the Divisional Commissioner about the problems we face due to commercialisation (of the area). When they did not take any action, we crowd-funded the money ourselves, built the barricades, and now we breathe a sigh of relief,” he said.
Majeed explained that Karan Nagar has six entry points, two of which are the main or most commonly used entries. He said that the other four “secondary” entry points had begun to be used for commercial transport and parking by businessmen who had illegally constructed complexes in the vicinity. Trucks were being used to ferry goods to these commercial complexes, he said.
When told that the barricades had affected public movement, Majeed said he could alter the “design” of the barricades if they had caused the public to suffer.
“See, our intention is not to hamper public movement. We are ready to dismantle the barricades and construct them in such a way that light motor vehicles can pass through. We only want heavy buses to not enter the locality,” he said.
The residents welfare society has placed iron grills filled with concrete across the lanes. Only a bicycle can pass through this barricade.