SHOPIAN: Like several areas of Kashmir, the southern districts of Shopian and Kulgam have witnessed an upsurge in ‘shops on wheels’ – vendors selling merchandise on load carriers through villages- in recent years.
While residents say the trend has brought goods to people’s doorsteps at reasonable prices, they are complaining about the noise pollution created by loudspeakers used by hawkers to advertise their products.
The goods sold by mobile hawkers include vegetables, fruits, groceries, soaps, rice, sugar, oil products, ready made garments, shoes, and crockery.
Residents say the usage of loudspeakers by mobile hawkers have reached menacing levels over the last three years.
“Throughout the day we see auto-rickshaws, people shouting loudly on speakers as it is an emergency all through the day,” Manzoor Ahmad Lone, a resident of Shopian, said.
Another resident said that the phenomenon has brought the prices of merchandise in villages at par with central markets, but the noisy loudspeakers were affecting the education of children and health of population.
The hawkers, he said, prefer school surroundings to sell their products.
“Earlier very few people were using loudspeakers but now almost everyone does so. I want this be stopped at earliest so that we do not get mental torture through this noise pollution,” Basharat Ahmad Dar, a resident of Kadgam said, reiterating that the hawkers were welcome without the loudspeakers.
“We see firings every week, the noise of generators, vehicles and now this noise created by mobile shops has added our woes in this violence hit region,” Malik Tabish, another resident of Kulgam said.
He added that the trend of using loudspeakers started in Kulgam and has engulfed entire southern Kashmir.
“More than seven times a day I hear people shouting about their products, they don’t care about the people who are ill, students and people in general,” he added.