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Encroachers rule Hassanabdal bazaars

TAXILA, Nov 23: Massive encroachments in several areas of Hassanabdal could make no difference to the administration but have increased the problems for the pedestrians and commuters.

During a survey conducted by this reporter on Friday, it was observed that the city, which houses Sikh religious places, was ruled by encroachment mafia thanks to incompetent and weak Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA).

Talking to this reporter, residents of Hassanabdal complained that they faced a lot of difficulties in moving in bazaars at Hazara Road, Daak Khana Stop, Mushraqi Bazaar, Srafa Bazaar and Shah Jhulan Road where grocery shops, hotel owners, shopkeepers and butchers had occupied footpaths and roadsides.

The residents said due to a mess on roads and bazaars traffic jam had become a routine feature.

The vendors have set up permanent stalls of fruits and hands-me-downs on both sides of the road. Nearly two to three years ago, they all were used to sell their goods on pushcarts at this place, they said.

It has also been observed that footpaths in front of various shops were occupied by stallholders, who pay a heavy amount to shopkeepers for the place.

The placement of mannequins or other goods on the pavements also leave no ground for pedestrians to easily move in the market.

Talking to this reporter, a number of visitors criticised the authorities concerned for not taking action against the shopkeepers, who have encroached upon the corridors and footpaths.

Talking to this reporter, Shahid Khan, a resident of the area,  said that vendors continued to carry out their small business by occupying small streets of the bazaar causing a great deal of inconvenience to the pedestrian and motorists. He said that the growing encroachments had also marred the beauty of the historical city.

Fatima Bibi, a shopper visiting Shah Johlan road market, said that shopkeepers and vendors had not only encroached upon the pavements but also the corridors in front of the shops.

“It is actually the shopkeepers who allow the encroachers to occupy space in front of their shops, as in return they get money,” she said.

When contacted Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) officials said with limited resources their workforce were trying their best to remove the encroachments in their jurisdiction by conducting operations against encroachers on daily basis. The mushroom growth of encroachments had gone out of their control.