SMC’s anti-encroachment drive faces stiff resistance

Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 23 2018 12:50AM | Updated Date: Feb 23 2018 11:11AM
SMC’s anti-encroachment drive faces stiff resistanceGK Photo

Anti-encroachment drive of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) at Hari Singh High Street here met with stiff resistance from street vendors on Thursday. 

Officials said the protesters damaged several vehicles of SMC and also mishandled senior officials who were supervising the operation.

Following the court directions, the civic body had launched anti-encroachment drive two months ago in the city. The drive was carried in various areas including Mahraja Bazaar, Batamaloo, Hari Singh High Street and other areas.

The special teams of SMC were supervised by senior officials of SMC including commissioner Riyaz Ahmad Wani.

As the teams started the drive by removing temporary stalls on roadside and footpaths at Hari Singh High Street, the street vendors resented the move and raised slogans. Senior officials of SMC tried to pacify them and sought their cooperation in implementation of court directions. However, they were manhandled.

The protesters damaged vehicles of SMC which were on spot to seize the goods of encroachers. The SMC staffers who were in vehicles ran away to evade injuries.

During the scuffle, several pedestrians were injured. 

SMC media wing incharge Masrat Yusuf said “there was stiff resistance. The encroachers stopped officials from performing their duty and implement High Court directions,” she added.

“The SMC had to halt the operation after protestors turned violent and threatened them to not to touch their stalls,” she said. 

One of the senior officials, wished not to be named, said “absence of sufficient police personnel prompted the vendors to attack the enforcement wing team and senior officials of corporation.”

“It was violent resistance and most of the staffers had to ensure that they are able to evade injuries,” they said.  

To mention, presence of street vendors on busy spaces including roadsides and footpaths causes traffic congestion across the city.

Later in evening, SMC issued a press release saying, “it was an extensive drive launched in compliance to the orders of High Court in PIL No: 458/2003 titled Kashmir Consumer Welfare Forum and another versus commissioner Transport Department and others.”