Business centres- encroachers take it as granted
By Mohammad Saleem Shahid
The shopkeepers and seasonal vendors take it as granted to encroach pavements of all commercial areas once shopping spree for Ramazan and Eid picks up, causing problems to buyers and passers-by especially women.
Both people and administration of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad see such encroachments growing. Residents of commercial areas complain that vendors encroach, almost all pavements, footpaths, verandahs, open spaces and spaces in front of shops. A large number of hand-pushed carts cause hindrance both for pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
Residents say such occasional encroachments rise around Eidul Fitr. Sometimes, they become permanent. The local residents blame shopkeeper and local authorities responsible for growing encroachments.
“I think shopkeepers allow vendors to put up their stalls in front of their shops and get hefty rents from them,” said Nazakat Ali, a resident of Satellite Town Commercial Market in Rawalpindi.
Another big civic problem is that most of the markets in the twin cities are littered with heaps of garbage and filth and no proper arrangements have been ensured by the authorities and the Market Committee concerned to maintain cleanliness. The sanitary workers carry out cleanliness work after a lapse of several days, which causes accumulation of garbage heaps in the market. Often, the garbage heaps are set on fire, which causes pollution within the area. It affects the residents nearby and the people come for shopping. This situation needs an urgent action by the people and civic authorities of both cities.
Among all, fruits and vegetable market Islamabad is the most vulnerable to encroachers. There you can hardly find any place even to walk through shopping.
“Land grabbers, in connivance with some officials reportedly do some underhand deal to get vendors encroach any road-side, pavement and other place in the market. Mostly they also encroach half of the road,” said Haji Gul Zaman, a local trader.
Another fruit trader Rana Sarwar said: “Unfortunately, beauty and sense of building a huge and open market to cater to the needs of the people of the twin cities has literally been damaged by encroachers. The once wide roads and pavements of the vegetable and fruit market remain mostly blocked and they have been narrowed down to almost one third of actual size. The worst part of this story is that nobody takes stock of it.”
Bashir Ahmad, another trader said, “The continuous traffic jams, due to encroachments even at entry and exit points of the market, hamper the movements of trucks and loading and unloading of stocks. Garbage disposal is not quick that risks perishable items such as fruits and vegetables”.
Nobody will believe that clearing up encroachment is not a responsibility of our very civic bodies. They may have their own plans to deal with it but people want to see it happening. Let us hope some one responsible will feel this responsibility soon.