Clear city pavements, roads of encroachments: HC directs SMC


The High Court on Tuesday directed the Srinagar Municipal Corporation to ensure pavements and roads in the summer capital are not occupied by vendors and shopkeepers and strict action be taken against encroachers.           
A division bench of Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Sanjeev Kumar issued the direction after advocate Atteeb Kanth assisting the amicus curie in the PIL reported to court about the encroachments of pavements and roads in Srinagar.  
In his report Kanth said the anti-encroachment drive is existing only on papers.  While producing photographic evidence in support, he said the vendors are occupying pavements and the shopkeepers keep their merchandize on the roads and no action is taken against them. 
He said sometimes the SMC takes action which is momentary for hour or so and there appears to be some connivance which encourages such type of encroachment.   
“We impress upon SMC authorities in particular the commissioner, SMC to ensure that it’s anti encroachment squad discharges its duties with dedication and commitment so that the menace of extending shops on the pavement by the shopkeepers is totally stopped  and a strict action is taken,” the bench ordered.  
The court directed the chief enforcement officer, SMC to remain personally present and explain his conduct if on next date of hearing the situation was no different.   
After counsel for SMC, Momin Khan,  submitted that a comprehensive proposal has been prepared so as to establish vending zones for accommodating street vendors, the court asked him to file a report as to within which time same will be translated into action.
“But in the meanwhile, the Municipality will ensure that no vendor displays any article for sale on the roadside so that the roads are kept open.  It shall be open for the Municipality to file objections before the municipal magistrate, Srinagar so that the concern is taken note of by the concerned magistrate while considering any such application for release thereof”. 
Incompliance to its earlier directions on color coding, the government informed the court that a detailed status report was prepared saying color coding has been suggested and once it is introduced and operated, it shall be easy to identify the vehicles which are plying in violation to the permission and action of seizure and fine will follow. 
Pollution Control Board filed the compliance report indicating that the exceeding limits observed in all silence zones monitored by the Board, necessary advisories have been issued to the concerned officers. 
The report said the matter has also been taken up with the divisional commissioner, Kashmir for  taking remedial measures like prohibition on use of sound amplifiers, loud speakers, honking of horns in these zones, copy whereof has been endorsed to all the concerned, what is follow up action  is not known. 
The court directed the divisional commissioner, Kashmir to file his response as to what action has been taken on the basis of the report submitted to him by the Pollution Control Board. 
Meanwhile, the court directed the SSP Traffic to depute the Traffic Special Squads on every road and to ensure that no Mini Bus is allowed to ply with overloading. “ If found stringent action be taken on the spot and  to submit a detailed report on the next date as to what follow up action they have taken and how many violations have been noticed and action taken”.

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