Even as Vasundhara colony of Ghaziabad spread out in nearly 1,100 acres chokes due to encroachments and illegal commercial activities inside colonies, the UP Avas Evam Vikas Parishad responsible for taking action, had turned a blind eye to the chronic disease of congestion on Vasundhara’s main roads and internal roads. This congestion is taking a dangerous form each passing day as pollution levels are rising and Vasundhara residents are getting a raw deal as they do not have a choice over the dadagiri of shopkeepers (alog Sector 16, 14, 12 and others sectors) who not only run illegal shops out of houses but also patronise illegal hawkers who have encroached upon all footpaths and public places, leaving it difficult even to walk at anytime in the day. Old people, children and women are more vulnerable and have to face a double whammy on otherwise wide Vasundhara roads- difficulty while walking during peak hours due to heavy congestion and risk of being mowed down due to speeding vehicles when the traffic is thin.
The Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam (GNN) that had in the recent past tried to take action against illegal hawkers in Sector 17 Vasundhara had to be on the backfoot as the vendors of this area approached the High Court where the matter is still pending. A law officer of the GNN told delhincrnews.in that once the hearing comes up they are hopeful of winning the case. In this particular case the larger issue was to create a separate ‘vending zone’ for these hawkers where they could be put under one roof settling the matter once and for all.
On the other hand, Avas Vikas officials when spoke to earlier made the excuse of elections. Joint Housing Commissioner of Meerut Zone, Ajay Kumar Srivastav told this Editor sometime back that as it is difficult to arrange for sufficient police force during elections, action against illegal shops has been put on hold. Some senior officials also admitted to political pressure once any such drive is taken up. However, this is no solace for residents who daily face harassment due to illegal activities of some.
Several residents of Vasundhara have been demanding that illegal commercial activities in housing colonies be stopped at the earliest.
However, the reluctance of government agencies cannot be an excuse for suffering of thousands of Vasundhara residents who came down to settle her due to vast, open spaces and green areas.
Another problem that is looming large is a tendency by various allottees of houses to hijack public roads and to build gates on them thereby restricting movement of the public. This is very apparent in Sectors 15, 13, 11, 9 etc of Vasundhara where individual houses exist and where several RWAs have illegally put up large iron gates illegally.
Thirdly, illegal flats in several sectors such as Sectors 10, 12, 5,1 etc have also done lots of damage to the infrastructure of the region by putting it under pressure. Several of houses built on such plots are illegal.
One Avas Vikas official said on condition of anonymity that the department does not have the requisite staff strength to carry out enforcement of building byelaws as many officials and employees are retiring and their are fewer recruitments. The same excuse is made by the GNN.
What is expected from Avas Vikas & Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam?
- Avas Vikas should stop all illegal shops and commercial activity along sectors and on main roads and internal roads. The said house owners should be fined too for running these illegally.
- If necessary seal premises running shops illegally.
- The GNN should issue notices and demolish all improper ramps that cover footpaths and roadsides in Sectors 15, 13, 11, 9 etc where individual housing units exist.
- The GNN should issue notices and demolish illegal gates obstructing public movement
- All illegal flats should be sealed at once
Expectations from police department
Several residents of Sectors 15, 16, 17 etc have demanded that traffic cops be posted at Sector 17 t-point, Parshuram Chowk and Kisan Chowk. Illegally parked cars and vehicles along roads should be towed away.
–Prasoon Pant, delhincrnews.in