RAWALPINDI – Although most of the citizens don’t prefer to climb stairs of pedestrian bridges for crossing roads, yet in areas where they are the only alternative available, they are more in use of encroachers rather than pedestrians.
Most of the city overhead bridges meant for safe and easy crossing of jam-packed roads and railway tracks, turned into business centres due to the sheer negligence of the authorities concerned causing bothersome to the citizens. On one part the authorities concerned are apparently not interested to properly maintain these dull and boring steel structures – for shortage of funds or some other reasons – while on other part their shyness – indeed negligence – hindering them to remove encroachments from there is also a matter of grave concern. Fortune-tellers, palmists, quack dentists and beggars have encroached most of the space on the bridges and turned this blessing into irksome for the pedestrians, especially for women.Hawkers and vendors on overhead bridges have grabbed spaces of 2 to 3 feet each, selling merchandise ranging from food items, glasses and minute household items to cheap daily use items like watches, radios and toys. They also include sometimes masons asking for some pennies giving excuse that they did not get labour for the last 5 or 6 days.
“No doubt, we are running our business in a good profit as we make a sizeable income of up to Rs 400 per day in normal routine days,” a quack dentist Naeem Safi told TheNation. Naeem is running two outlets of his makeshift clinic on Pohri Pul – a busy overhead bridge on railway track in Saddar, Rawalpindi – and second one on Faizabad overhead bridge on Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Road.
A passer-by Javed Ahmed, resident of Railway Colony said; Overhead bridges meant for pedestrians are encroached upon by these people. Beggars have encroached on the stairs of the bridge and sleep there at night.
Interestingly, a precious stones seller told that he was a government servant working as Naib-Qasid in morning time and it was his side business.
Beggars in the stairs have adopted a new tactic as they show themselves mentally retorted and snaffle your leg or shirt and don’t let you go till getting some money, a woman Khalida told who was crossing the railway track under the bridge. Most of the encroachers accuse the responsible officials of the city government of taking bribe from them for using the “facility”.
Meanwhile, Thesil Municipal Administration (TMA) failed to remove the encroachments from the city as motorists have no space to park their vehicles.
Encroachers have occupied footpaths creating traffic mess on major roads causing problems for the motorists as well as shoppers in different markets of the city.
The encroachers have occupied roads, footpaths and open spaces in Bara Market, Namak Mandi, Narnkari Bazaar, Fawara Chowk, Trunk Bazaar, Jamia Masjid Road, Sadiqabad, Muslim Town, Commercial Market, Saidpur Road, Khayaban-e-Sir Syed, Asghar Mall Road, Ganjmandi Road, Dhoke Mangtal Road and Bagh Sardaran in the city.
Rawal Town Administrator, Saif Anwar Jappa told APP that they are continuously taking action against encroachers and imposing fines as well, but they are not following rules and regulations.
He said that operation will be continued against encroachers without any pressure and discrimination. No one would be allowed to violate rule of law, he added.
Meanwhile, citizens and outdoor patients have protested against the selling of unhygienic food in the surrounding of Holly Family Hospital. Due to health department, practice of selling substandard foods to passengers has posed health hazards.
Meanwhile, Cooked food is being served in unclean utensils, causing health problems. The vendors are also using contaminated spices to cook food.
The out door patients have appealed to the concerned authority to take stern action against the stallholders found involved in selling unhygienic.
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