A number of residents of Sector 16 in Vasundhara have been complaining about chronic encroachments and traffic jams that now have become daily affair in Sector 16, along main road, due to shops being run from houses, in clear violation of the UP Avas Vikas byelaws. delhincrnews.in had raised this issue a number of times in the past and have quoted the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam (GNN) officials as saying that unless the UP Avas Vikas takes steps to stop illegal commercial activity in housing colonies, the GNN would not be able to clear the encroachments, at least along Sector 16 stretch in Vasundhara.
About 20 years back when Avas Vikas developed Vasundhara colony there were not many takers for it. The area was considered out of bounds for many people due to lack of connectivity and poor law & order situation. However, today Vasundhara colony is considered one of the best colonies in Ghaziabad that is near Delhi and also has lots of breathing space. About this time, many house owners along Sector 16 started running the lower portions as shops and since then their business has increased by leaps and bounds. The Avas Vikas officials have been accused of not putting a check on these illegal commercial activities and the people has alleged that some officials are hand in glove with these shopkeepers.
Over the years these shopowners extended their shops to the pavement where hawkers and vendors set shop. Now during the evenings as people flock to these illegal markets there is a complete break down of traffic as the people park their vehicles haphazardly on half the road thereby leaving no space to walk.
Avas Vikas Executive Engineer Rajeev Kumar a few days back had pointed out that due to lack of police force action against several illegal constructions and violation of building byelaws by shopkeepers could not be prevented. Later on Rajeev Kumar was indicted by a top district official for allegedly conniving with builders and not being able to halt illegal constructions. Along with him, a JE and one other engineer was also blamed for illegal construction mess, especially in Sector 5.
However, Superintending Engineer of Avas Vikas in Vasundhara, K A Singhal said: “We have been coordinating with the GNN and the police department to stop illegal constructions and stop people from using residential units as shops.” He admitted that the situation along Sector 16 was indeed bad with shops being run out of houses thereby resulting in further encroachments by different vendors, especially during the evenings.
When asked if any action will be taken against these shopkeepers Singhal said: “The commercial complexes developed by Avas Vikas are not successful due to several factors like people not taking interest in business activity or not living in Vasundhara. In such a scenario the shops along Sector 16 are being patronized by the people themselves.”
Singhal suggested a middle path under which these illegal shops could be regularized but only if they do not encroach upon the public space. He said that either the shops should be completely closed down due to being run from inside houses or else a way could be found out to let them carry out commercial activity in a limited way that will not allow them to extend beyond a certain limit and encroach upon public space. But such a request should come from these shopkeepers first, before any such action is contemplated, he said.
However, a number of residents of Sector 16 & 17 in Vasundhara are against any such move as they feel that this will only result in more chaos and people carrying out illegal commercial activities will be further emboldened.
–Prasoon Pant, Editor, delhincrnews.in
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