Administration aware, but looks the other way
Sopore: Unauthorised cab stands have sprouted into a major menace in apple town Sopore, with authorities remaining indifferent to the crisis.
There are at least four illegal cab stands in the town, and most of the cabs are either unregistered or are plying without yellow registration plates.
The stands are congesting the town at critical sports, making life hell for commuters and businesses alike.
Traders Federation president Haji Mohd Ashraf told Kashmir Reader that the town seems to be a forgotten chapter for the government.
He said that while the administration was blind to the decade old issues of the town, the unauthorized cab stands have added to the problem.
“It (cab stands) is the most frustrating issue as they have occupied most of the spaces in the main markets and choked the business space for the shopkeepers as well as for the traffic and commuters,” Ashraf said.
“We have visited every office with complaints about the illegal stands and encroachment by local vendors, but to no avail as these people send a hefty share to the municipality while allows them to use the space illegally in the town,” Ashraf said.
The district administration has failed to curb haphazard parking, encroachment of roads by vendors, as well as unauthorized cab stands.
Sources said that among seven passenger vehicle stands four cab stands are operating illegally within the town with vehicles occupying roads and creating bottlenecks.
An illegal stand in front of Mother & Child Hospital is even blocking the main gate to the hospital.
A hospital employee said that in case of emergencies they have to request cab drivers to move their vehicles, “so that we can transport a patient to Srinagar”.
The latest illegal stand has come up in the main square, the busiest market of the town. Mohd Shafi, a shopkeeper, said that not only is it affecting business of the shopkeepers but is also responsible for hours of traffic jams.
With vendors eating into a good section on the other side of the road, the plight of pedestrians and commuters can only by imagined.
“It takes hours to travel small distances by car. The irony is that one illegal stand is just 100 meters from Sopore police station” Abdul Rashid, a local resident said.
A senior police official told Kashmir Reader that the illegal stands and encroachment by cart vendors and shopkeepers are the boiling issues of the town.
“But it will be addressed only when the administration is serious, we can only help them in implementation,” he said.
Executive Officer of the municipality, Abdul Mateen, acknowledged the presence of illegal stands but said the problem would soon be addressed “as a new site for main bus stand has been identified”.
“The tender has been passed and as soon as the site will be ready these illegal stands will go away,” Mateen said.
He, however, dodged an answer when on why the cabs were being permitted to occupy the public space illegally.
The Regional Transport Officer Baramulla, Jamsheed Chowdary, told Kashmir Reader that he was not aware of passenger vehicles running without yellow registration plates or no plates at all.
“We have no information as such but will look into this issue personally and will take a strict action against it,” he said.