High Court wants all encroachments removed from across Srinagar city

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High Court today directed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to take up the task of removing the encroachments across Srinagar city at the earliest.

In a Public Interest Litigation, High Court directed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir ensure that the encroachment as reported by the SSP, Traffic, Srinagar, is removed without fail. The contingents of Enforcement Wing of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and the Police concerned shall be utilized for the purpose and the progress is reported to this Court by the next date.

Division Bench headed by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed JKERA shall update the status with reference to the progress in the work of Ram Bagh Flyover Bridge by the next date. When the PIL came-up for hearing, Division Bench observed that in terms of order dated 5.10.2017, SSP, Traffic, Srinagar, has filed the compliance report, perusal whereof reveals that the erstwhile Batmaloo Bus Stand is cleared of all the busses, sumosetc., and no buses, sumos, mini buses, taxi cabs are being allowed to operate from the erstwhile Batamaloo bus stand. It is further stated therein that the action has been taken against the violators also.

Document evidencing such fact has been placed on record to the status report. It is further stated in the status report that 39 areas/ spots have been identified and list of the same has been communicated to Commissioner, SMC for placement of signages as per the pattern envisaged in the Motor Vehicle Act. The details as regards this issue is placed alongside as Annexure A1. Further it is submitted in the status report that the wheel clamp have been put into use and the vehicles found wrongly parked are identified with the help of wheel clamps used on spot. Photographs taken in that direction have been annexed as Annexure A2.

Perusal of the status report would reveal that its enforcement wing has continued the anti-encroachment drive against street vendors and shopkeeprs in the Central Business District (CBD) and Pantha Chowk areas and such exercise is undertaken under the supervision of Anti Encroachment Officers headed by the Chief Enforcement Officer.

In this connection, it is stated, that numerous street vendors have been removed from the roads and pavements in and around Jehangir Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Naaz Crossing and Batmaloo, as also various areas of Lal Chowk including Residency Road, M. A. Road, Poloview, Lambert Lane, Abi Guzar, Amira Kadal, Regal Chowk, etc.

Upon this Division Bench directed Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation to continue with the Anti Encroachment Drive in the areas detailed out in the status report so as to ensure that these areas are congestion free. He shall also ensure that the Trade is not allowed on the Foot Paths, pavements and on roadside anywhere in the city of Srinagar as has been directed from time to time. All the State Agencies are expected to work in tandem to ensure that the object of the PIL is achieved and the roads of the city witness a hassle free vehicular movement.

Srinagar Development Authority, which owns the Pantha Chowk Bus Stand area, shall extend all possible help to the SMC in removing the encroachments in and around the said Bus Stand. Director, Land Management, SDA, present in the Court, assured the court that they will render all possible assistance to the SMC or any other agency to remove the illegal encroachment in and around the Pantha Chowk area.

Status report in that direction shall also be submitted by the Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation by the next date of hearing. The Authorities required to assist the SMC for such installation, shall ensure a hassle free and time bound installation of such signages. The next status report shall reflect explicitly the cooperation rendered by the assisting agencies in this behalf.

Division Bench also directed Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, shall ensure smooth vehicular movement at the Batmaloo-Qamarwari stretch. He shall associate SSP Traffic, Srinagar with the process of acquisition of structures for road widening at Qamarwari chowk. The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, shall also ensure that the encroachment as reported by the SSP, Traffic, Srinagar, is removed without fail. The contingents of Enforcement Wing of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and the Police concerned shall be utilized for the purpose and the progress is reported to this Court by the next date.

Commissioner Transport, Inspector General of Police,(Traffic), SSP (Traffic) Srinagar, RTO Kashmir and all ARTOs of Kashmir division are directed to ensure plying of Tata Sumos/ Taveras/ taxi cabs, etc. only through permissible routes and ensure that the vehicles are color coded. This is required to ensure that the vehicles coming through impermissible routesare immediately identified by the traffic regulatory authority including the traffic Magistrates of the areas and same are seized.

The stringent measures are required to be taken in hand to see that the penalty serves as a deterrent for not only the erring vehicle owners but to the rest of the lot also.  As suggested by the SSP, Traffic, Srinagar, no vehicle shall be allowed to cross the Parimpora Bus Stand point from the north and north east areas and the Pantha Chowk point from the south and south east areas.

The idea put forth is taken to ensure that the city of Srinagar is decongested of the traffic mess. It shall, however, be the duty of the Traffic authorities to ensure a smooth entry of the commuters from the said block points by providing a hassle free and time bound transport facility at the said junctions.

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