Bhopal: Be it pink parking, police outpost or temple located in New Market area, all its premises are full of encroachments which seem to rise each day as festival of Deepawali draws close. The customers are feeling the pinch when they come for shopping as the area has witnessed mishaps. In a recent incident, a cylinder used for filling soda in the cold drinks burst like a rocket, which injured three people. The encroachers operate from mini kiosks, pull carts.
The encroachments have shrunk the space to the extent that it will be difficult for rescue teams or fire brigade to reach the venue in case a major mishap occurs or fire breaks out. Besides, the shrunk alleys in the market pose a threat in case there is a stampede.
Strangely, Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems unaware of the threat or has willingly chosen to overlook the issue. The multi-level parking, which appears a distant dream, could have relieved the area of thousands of vehicles surrounding the market. Since it is not there, the crowd pouring out for festival shopping has added to parking crisis.
Office bearers of New Market traders association have made several complaints to BMC in this regard but their problem remains unsolved. Association president Satish Gangrade said encroachers include roadside vendors who wrap up their belongings before BMC encroachment removal gang arrives. “Once the BMC squad leaves, they put up their stalls again,” he said.
A New Market shopkeeper, on the condition of anonymity, said that the encroachers pay a fixed sum to certain municipal officials due to which they manage to run their business illegally in the area. “Once I had filed a complaint of encroachment with BMC. They came and seized my goods, which I had displayed outside my shop. Though it was wrong to put the belongings outside, I was targeted only because I had complained,” he told Free Press.
Meanwhile, local corporator Jagdish Yadav said encroachments should be removed as they are a threat to customers and shopkeepers alike. “Recently, anti-encroachment drive was to be carried out in the market but few local leaders opposed it. Action should also be taken against them,” he said. When contacted, assistant municipal commissioner Pradeep Jain said anti-encroachment drive is underway and will be intensified as complaints of encroachment in New Market area have mounted.