HC directs SMC to ensure no public space is used by vendors

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, May 17: The High Court today directed the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, to ensure that no public space and footpath are encroached by the vendors for smooth traffic movement.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the Municipal Corporation Commissioner Dr Shafkat Khan, who was present in the Court, to ensure that there are no street vendors on public roads and footpaths which are meant for vehicular traffic and pedestrians respectively.
Commissioner stated before the court that the drive for removing unauthorized street vendors is going on and 90% of streets are free of roadside vendors. Court directed him to file his status report in this connection along with photographs on next date of hearing.
Transport Commissioner has been directed to submit an affidavit on next date, indicating therein the exact extent of vehicles registered in Kashmir which are between the age of 0-15, 15-20, 20-25 and above 25-years.
Court directed him to give the details of these vehicles in a break-up of  two groups viz commercial and non-commercial and further break-up into buses, minibuses, three-wheelers and non-commercial vehicles into cars, two-wheelers and others.
Court further directed him to inform it about registration numbers and registration certificates of those vehicles which have crossed the age limit of 25 years.
Advocate General of the State has been directed to examine the possibility, in a phased manner, of switching over commercial vehicles into CNG.
“As part of the first phase, the Government may consider grant of permission of commercial vehicle beyond 15 years on the condition that they will convert from petrol/diesel to CNG/LPG”, directed Indian Oil Corporation through its counsel has been directed to indicate as to whether they are in position to establish centers where CNG can be provided in Kashmir particularly Srinagar.
Court directed the Regional Transport Officer Kashmir to ensure that ‘pollution under control’ certificate for vehicles beyond 15 years of age shall be granted only if pollution parameters are within control.
“Fitness certificate shall also be granted when the vehicles are mechanically fit. The certificates would also be granted strictly on six monthly basis so that any vehicle which does not have the certificate beyond six months would require to obtain that certificate and in default not to ply on roads”, court said.
About the abolishing of unauthorized bus and sumo stands the list of these stands is already notified by the Transport commissioner and court put the responsibility of removing these stands on Srinagar Municipal Cooperation and directed it to ensure that they are removed, if necessary with the police help.
During the course of proceedings, court has been apprised about the specified standard passenger space of particular dimension in the passenger vehicle. “However, there are a number of vehicles which we are informed donot have the standard dimension as a result of which passengers are greatly inconvenienced”, court observed.
Court directed the RTO to ensure that registration of such vehicles which do not comply with the adequate space requirement for passengers is suspended till the time standards are complied with. “This action should be inter alia under Motor Vehicles Act especially Section 5 thereof. Status report with regard to action taken by RTO shall be filed before next date of hearing”, said the bench.
Meantime, State Pollution Control Board has been directed to file an affidavit indicating clearly the status of equipment available for monitoring air pollution levels in Srinagar. “They shall also indicate requirement of the equipments and the stage at which their proposals are. If there is anything that need to be done by the Central Pollution Control Board, they shall expedited the same”, the court said.
Court while taking note of encroachment by the vendors had observed in the first instance, to see that the situation is brought under control and the general public may heave a sigh of relief. “The first thing that comes to our mind, in this connection, is the occupation of the roads at capital points of the city by the street vendors”
Court earlier observed, the footpaths were swallowed resulting in on road foot movement of the public. Now even the general roads are occupied almost everywhere in the city by such vendors hampering the traffic movement to the hilt. Ironically no State Authority, despite being conscious of this fact, has spoken a word about this menace which is a major roadblock in the traffic regulation in the State of J&K especially in the city of Srinagar”.
Court also observed that it is the lack of discipline only that roads are used for street vending; for parking of the vehicles; for running auto, sumo stands or to stop the vehicles in the middle of the road.
Acting indifferent towards such grave issues by the authorities is also indiscipline, for, the disciplined souls neither do any harm to the society nor allow anyone else to do that.


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