For Delhiites, walking on the pavements has become a major struggle with either vendors occupying the foothpaths to sell their wares or the space being turned into dump yards. In absence of footpaths, pedestrians end up walking on the roads putting their life to risk.
Taking cognisance of the fact, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has issued directions to all land owning agencies and the police to remove all kinds of encroachments and create walking space for pedestrians.
The chairman of EPCA, Bhure Lal has shot off letters to various agencies, including the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Public Works Department (PWD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to remove encroachments from footpaths and file an action taken report.
“It all started with the construction activities that were carried out for the Commonwealth Games during which pedestrians hardly had any space to walk. Even today most of the footpaths have been taken over illegally by vendors or have become dumping sites. In other places, construction waste eats into the walking space. Due to this there is hardly any space available for the people to walk. We should be encouraging people to walk. Instead, we are making it more difficult for them to use these footpaths that are meant for them,” said Bhure Lal, chairman of EPCA.
The committee has asked all land owning agencies to comply with its orders and has directed the police to take action against the encroachers.
“We are yet to receive a letter from the committee. We will be able to comment on it only after we have gone through the letter. However, we have received one particular letter addressed to the NDMC chairman, a copy of which was received by the Delhi police commissioner’s office, asking us to clear vendors from the verandahs in Sarojini Nagar. We will provide all necessary assistance to the NDMC for the same,” said Rajan Bhagat, additional DCP and spokesman of Delhi police.
The MCD said it has already started taking action against encroachers with the help of police.
“We have already started taking action against encroachers. The building department of Karol Bagh zone removed encroachments and merged the land with the existing adjoining footpath on Dr Krishnan Marg that runs from the Pusa roundabout to New Rajinder Nagar on Monday,” said a senior MCD official.