Road encroachment has become a continuous and a spontaneous process in both Srinagar and as well as major towns of Kashmir valley but curbs on the growing menace of road encroachments don’t last for more than six months in Srinagar the summer capital and major towns of Kashmir. Reasons for never ending road encroachment show the failure of civic institutions and law enforcers in Kashmir valley. The authorities in Srinagar and major townships of Kashmir valley are always selective in imposing curbs on road encroachments as they sometimes impose curbs just to silence critics threatening public protests against the road encroachments but allow the encroachers to reoccupy the roads barely few months or weeks later. True it is that vendors continue pulling hand carts to sell vegetables, fruits and several goods of common use for the whole day on the encroached roads just to earn their livelihood and as such they are to be rehabilitated by the government in suitable commercial areas, but the basic fault lies with the government failing to permanently curb the menace of road encroachments in Srinagar and most of the towns in Kashmir valley. It has been noticed in the past that road encroachers were rehabilitated by the government by allotting them shops in commercial hubs in cities and towns to help them earn their livelihoods, but within months and weeks new encroachers come to occupy the footpaths vacated by the rehabilitated encroachers with the overt and covert support of law enforcers. This way the process of road encroachments has become an unending menace and if not curbed permanently it will continue to intensity human and traffic congestion on roads in cities and towns at a faster pace day after and year after year.
The eviction of vendors from the commercial hubs in Srinagar and major towns of Kashmir valley is no doubt a welcome move but there is no short cut to a blanket ban on occupation of footpaths and subways on highways leading to district headquarters like Baramulla, Bandipora, Anantnag and Ganderbal and similar ban against footpath occupants is overdue on inter district routes in major towns of Kashmir valley.
Interestingly the encroachment of roads and footpaths has become a never ending menace in commercial hubs in uptown Srinagar including Lal Chowk, Amirakadal, Jahangir Chowk, Mahraj Bazar, Goni Khan, Batmaloo and some other adjoining areas of the summer capital and the cause of increasing intensity in traffic chaos in these uptown areas is the movements of vendors who continue pulling their hand carts for selling vegetables, fruits and goods of common use on roads and footpaths throughout the day without facing any resistance from civic bodies or traffic cops . Unless and until the movements of the vendors in these uptown areas of Srinagar city and civil lines areas of the most of the major towns across Kashmir are not checked, the authorities can’t facilitate any remarkable improvement in the traffic regulation system. Better for the government to devise a permanent policy for curbing the growing menace of road encroachments in Kashmir as even naives can understand that once the road encroachment issue is permanently resolved, the authorities regulating the traffic movement in the civil lines area will themselves experience an improvement in the traffic regulation both in Srinagar city and major towns of Kashmir valley. The eviction of vendors from the commercial hubs in Srinagar and major towns of Kashmir valley is no doubt a welcome move but there is no short cut to a blanket ban on occupation of footpaths and subways on highways leading to district headquarters like Baramulla, Bandipora, Anantnag and Ganderbal and similar ban against footpath occupants is overdue on inter district routes in major towns of Kashmir valley.