Hounding vendors and leaving parked cars untouched
SRINAGAR: A chain of vehicles can be seen parked on roadside in commercial hub Lal Chowk and adjoining areas as if they have been put for exhibition. Mostly parked by the people running shops and business outlets in the congested area, the cars remain immobile for hours choking the already squeezed space in the nerve center.
A general observation to the area reveals that a good chunk of space is occupied by such vehicles, which was meant for vehicular and pedestrian movement.
The vehicles are parked in violation of High Court directions banning roadside parking in Srinagar. Earlier this year, the court ordered the Inspectors General of Police, and SSsP of Traffic (of both Jammu and Kashmir) to ensure that no vehicle was allowed to park at any place other than the designated parking slots.
For a university student like Aqib Ahmad, who has to cross the Residency road stretch on daily basis, the roadside parked vehicles become primary bottle-necks for the passage of their bus.
“For a second, if traffic department ponders on how narrow our roads are and above that how much space is occupied by these vehicles as roadside parking, the traffic department would have been much successful in streaming the traffic. Given no action against these people in the past, it looks like that traffic department allocates space to them before allowing the routine traffic moment,” says Ahmad.
Pedestrians, vendors and daily-commuters echo the same views and want traffic department to “focus on this issue instead of running after vendors.”
“We were removed from footpaths and roadside for regulating traffic movement. The frequent traffic jams reveal as to how much it has been streamlined. We were rather small impediments, main obstruction is caused by these vehicles,” says Mushtaq Ahmad, a street vendor in Lal chowk.
Mohsin Janwari, an urban traffic expert, says that it was because of absence of proper policy by the government that compels people to park their vehicles on roadsides.
“They (vehicle owners) would have thought of parking their vehicles at designated places. But we don’t have much of them available here. The parking spaces have been created without a proper research and ground work,” he said.
Referring to two under-construction mechanized parking lots in Lal chowk, he says that a “poor research has been done while proposal to create parking spaces at these two places”.
Surprisingly, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has identified around 42 spots in Srinagar as on-street paid parking spots in an “effort to streamline traffic in the city”. The areas include Residency Road, MA Road, Gawkadal, GPO Lane, Rajbagh Magarmal Bagh, Exhibition Crossing Shaheed Gunj, Old Secretariat, Bemina and Karan Nagar.
The SMC has already developed three spots at MA Road towards Women’s College left side, Karan Nagar road stretch in front of its head office and Karan Nagar main road in front of Mughal Darbar. Signage and symbols have already been erected near these spots by officials.
Senior superintendent of police, traffic, Tahir Saleem, however, says that they have been taking action against vehicles parked on roadside.
“Wherever we find a vehicle parked on roadside, we immediately seize the vehicle or fine the owner,” Saleem said.
He said the traffic advisor to state has suggested signage to regulate terrific in Srinagar besides other measures.
“The move will definitely have some rationale behind it. Moreover, the spots have just been identified not approved and it will be discussed thoroughly by all stake-holders before it is given approval,” he said.