Encroachment in Batla House: Photo goes viral on Facebook. Have you seen it?
OT, August 12, 2012 13:00 IST
Okhla Times Reporter/Jamia Nagar
A photo of vendors encroaching road just outside Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) building in Batla House has attracted overwhelming response from residents with many calling the locality to be cleaned. The post that is a photo ran by a Batla House group has been shared by 11 Facebook users. Also, it has solicited 96 comments and many likes.
Encroachment is a big issue in the locality with most of the roads being narrowed following mushrooming of vendors, roadside workshops and eateries. The situation gets worst in Ramzan when residents find it extremely difficult even to walk in Batla House and Zakir Nagar roads.
Come Ramzan and vendors occupy both sides of the road in Batla House. Not only this but the entrance of Batla House has become overcrowded with vendors on one side and beggars on the other. Some residents who go for marketing in Batla House during Ramzan have a bad experience.
Batla House resident Ghazia Khanam said: “The whole area is chock-a-block and it is chaotic. One cannot even walk as it is overcrowded with vendors and beggars on both sides.”
She said had it not for the police, who man the area during the festival the situation would have turned chaotic with the whole road occupied by vendors. “Now the police are presence and they do their best to keep the area clean by only allowing pedestrians inside Batla House after sunset and not letting gramin seva to park their vehicles on the road. They are doing a great job and we should thank them.”
There are fear that if encroachment goes unchecked the situation would turn into Jama Masjid where lepers, beggars and illegal vendors have blighted the historic place. The area stink.
On Facebook many residents regularly express their frustration over roadside encroachment. But till now nothing has happened as leaders play it safe. They don’t raise the issue for fear of losing votes, according to another resident Shahzad Khan. Now, traffic snarl has become the order of the day.
Khan said a collective effort is needed to get the encroachment removed. “The local authorities should adopt zero tolerance against encroachers and residents found violating the rules should be punished. And builders should also be penalized heavily for not providing sufficient parking space in flats. We should not show any mercy to these criminals. They illegally occupy roadsides wherever they get chance and also sell expensive things. Just see this Ramzan, prices of fruits have been doubled. These greedy vendors for the sake of money don’t even think that they should sell fruits at reasonable rate in the Holy month for devotees. Residents too should not show any mercy and kick them out. Yesterday some residents organized an Iftar party on road in Abul Fazal Enclave. The tragedy was that half of the road was covered. Is this Islam?” he said.
Can Jamia Nagar be cleaned of encroachers as whenever the issue is raised people are quick to point out that employment will suffer and try to turn it into a Muslim Vs government issue?
A resident on the condition of anonymity said that a few years ago the encroachment issue was resolved in Batla House to some extent when many residents and vendor union had agreed to stop using roadside space.
The elderly, who was part of that talk, said: “But vendors were alarmed as the empty space was used by car owners to park their vehicles for some days. This gave vendors’ excuse and they once again started parking their materials on roadside. Also, some raised the issue of employment. It is for the people to decide what they want: encroachment, employment or cleanliness on their streets?”
Many feel that the issue can be brought under control by the police and MCD cracking down on encroachers with full support from residents and local leaders. Are we ready for the change?
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