By: Vikas Sharma
Shimla: With the new Municipal Corporation (MC) Mayor, Narender Kataria, clearly stating that no encroachments would be allowed in the tow, he has managed to catch the bull by its horn.
Shimla, which once was a pedestrians’ delight, has now been turned into a nightmare for walkers as encroachers have become ubiquitous all over the market places. The culprits mostly are shopkeepers who encroach upon roads in order to have more display area for their goods, thus making it difficult for pedestrians to pass through without trouble.
Hawkers and vendors, who are not registered with the MC and are found sitting along roads, have made things even worse, and in a way have been encouraging shopkeepers to carry on further encroachments.
A shopkeeper on conditions of anonymity said, “We face competition from hawkers, therefore we have no option but to display our goods outside the shops to attract customers.”
Most old-time residents of the town admit that they don’t find any charm in coming to the Mall any more as human traffic there deters them from venturing out. Things turn worse during the festive season with shops expanding out of proportion.
Everyone knows that in case of any eventuality like fire, the encroached roads could obstruct the passing of fire-fighting vehicles, but shopkeepers are ready to take that much risk.
Kataria said, “I have issued stern warnings to violators to mend their ways.” Kataria added that most of the encroachments result in blockage of drains, which results in overflowing of water from drains especially during monsoons.
Well, for the time being, residents of this regal town have reasons to believe their Mayor’s words in hope that he would help bring back the glory of the Mall and other market places.