RAWALPINDI: Traders and stallholders in Raja Bazaar and adjoining areas have encroached footpaths and verandas along roads creating problems for pedestrians and motorists.
Walking on footpaths and verandas in the busy bazaar has become almost impossible for the visitors as shopkeepers have displayed their goods outside their outlets while stallholders have occupied the roadsides.
Due to this, traffic gridlocks have became an order of the day. The visitors to the bazaars criticised the civic body for not taking notice of the issue.
Mohammad Ahmed said he came to the bazaar to purchase household items but was trapped in a traffic jam. He said the basic problem was encroachment which created hurdles in the smooth flow of traffic.
Ammar Hussain, a resident of Naya Mohallah, said it was difficult to drive on Iqbal Road in rush hours. He said he used a motorcycle to bring his children from school form a nearby locality.
The road is wide enough but from morning to evening only one lane is used by the general traffic as the remaining space was encroached by traders.
A senior official of Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) told Dawn that the civic body launched an anti-encroachment drive once in a month but during rest of days officials turned blind eye to the issue.
When told that traders of Raja Bazaar were displaying goods in verandas along main roads, he said a veranda was not part of a building and no shopkeeper was allowed to display goods there.
Ahmed Khan, a stallholder, alleged that he paid money to the RMC officials and the shopkeepers to place his stall in front of shops.
When contacted, Rawalpindi Traders Association President Shajeel Mir admitted that verandas on City Saddar Road and other parts of Raja Bazaar were meant for pedestrians and not part of shops.
“It is the duty of the RMC to get the verandas and footpaths vacated from traders as under the law the seven feet wide verandas are constructed for pedestrians,” he said.
He said the shopkeepers and stallholders have encroached state land and the traders’ association was against this.
“They (traders and stallholders) encroached the land in convince with RMC officials who get money from them for this illegal act,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2022