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Vinay Dhingra, Hindustan Times
Pathankot, February 23, 2013
The local municipal corporation seems helpless as locals are erecting obstacles or putting up individual gates in their respective localities in the name of safety and blocking the free flow of traffic through the area which falls under the corporation.   Many a time such obstacles have posed a threat as during fires, fire tenders have failed to reach their destination.

Such gates or obstacles are raised when a few influential people of the area suggest putting up individual gates or raise cement bars to prevent trucks or tractor-trolleys from passing through the area, as they "damage" the roads.

The locality with a few houses agrees to it and despite the roads being owned by the corporation they virtually become a private property with these locals, who quarrel with the "trespassers" in case they dare take their vehicles on these roads.

On Mission Road, where influential people live, locals have erected huge gates which are closed after a fixed time by the watchmen employed by the locals, putting the commuters to inconvenience as they have to take a different route. At Manwal and Dhaki Road, many streets can be seen with cemented bars which prevent even bigger cars from passing through these roads.

A house was gutted as fire tenders failed to enter the streets owing to one such obstacle at Manwal locality a few months ago. If the municipal corporation constructs these roads, how come locals become the "owners" of that particular area, wonders Pardeep Kumar, a local. They not only block traffic but also start quarrelling when confronted on erecting these obstacles, rues Kumar. It is the duty of the sanitary inspector of the MC to stop locals from erecting such impediments, he says.

Pathankot deputy commissioner Siben C said that earlier he had received a complaint of erecting a gate in some area, which was removed immediately. He termed the act as an offence, saying nobody was permitted to raise gates on the corporation-owned roads in their locality. "I will tell sanitary inspectors to keep a check on violators as such obstacles block the entry of vehicles in case of an emergency," he said.