PESHAWAR, Dec 1: Motorists and pedestrians have been facing hardships here in provincial capital owing to unchecked encroachments by shopkeepers.
Besides the city roads are narrow as successive governments have not paid much attention to widen them while encroachments have further made movement of traffic and pedestrians difficult.
“Most of shopkeepers have occupied footpaths and half of roads in front of their shops,” Naeem Khan, a resident of Qissa Khwani bazaar, told this correspondent.
Vendors sitting on footpaths pay the shopkeepers for allowing them to sell items in front of their shops, said one of vendors in Khyber bazaar.
Besides, shop owners park their vehicles nearby and display different items on roads to attract customers without realising that it would create hurdles to smooth flow of traffic and movement of pedestrians, said Naeem Khan.
Encroachments can be seen in Qissa Khwani bazaar, Khyber bazaar, Kochi bazaar, Shaheen bazaar, Hashtnagri bazaar, under Faqirabad flyover, Meena bazaar, Raiti bazaar and other markets.
One Amjid Khan said that shopkeepers didn’t allow others to park their cars on roads in front of their shops, but they themselves do the same. “Today (Tuesday) I quarrelled with a shopkeeper in Khyber bazaar when he didn’t allow me to park my car near his shop,” he said.
One Mohammad Ishaq, however, said that all encroachments were removed by the shopkeepers in interior city during first 10 days of Muharram because they knew that officials of Town-I and city district government would not compromise on the issue for security reasons.
Mr Ishaq, a taxi driver who frequently visits different bazaars, said that on the very next day of end of mourning precessions the shopkeepers and vendors again occupied their specific areas on roads and footpaths.
“We are used to raids by officials of Town-I. When they come we remove everything from the road and footpath for sometime. This is a routine,” said a vender.
District Coordination Officer Mohammad Javed Marwat, when contacted, told Dawn that he had warned shopkeepers to remove their encroachments. Mr Marwat said that during Muharram he didn’t use force against encroachers, but held meetings with traders and convinced them to ensure that all roads were free of encroachments.
The DCO claimed that he would soon launch a big crackdown on traders and vendors who had made encroachments of pavements and roads their routine.
When contacted, municipal officer of Town-I Javed Amjid said that he had been posted a week ago and in this time several encroachers were arrested.
The officer said that he would obtain undertaking on stamp papers from shopkeepers and vendors that they would not occupy government’s property.
He said that FIRs would be registered against violators of the law.