As the name suggests, Model Town is among the well planned and posh localities in the industrial city of Ludhiana. But when it comes to traffic movement, the area depicts a different picture of roads going narrower thanks to encroachers.
With the tehbazari wing of the municipal corporation having failed miserably to check the encroachments, the spacious roads have over the years gone chock-a-block.
The situation is worst in Gol Market, Model House Market, Shastri Nagar Market and Krishna Mandi Market, where roads as wide as 40 to 50 feet have been reduced to only 20 feet due to encroachments.
Shopkeepers in routine extend their stock on one side of the road, while fruit and vegetable vendors remain stationed on the other side, leaving hardly any space for easy movement of traffic and pedestrians.
“The situation is so grim that one has to think twice even while venturing inside Gol Market on foot. If you are in a car, there is no saying when you would get out of the traffic jams, which have become common,” rued Manita Kaur, a resident of B-block of Model Town Extension area.
Interestingly, the tehbazari wing, which checks the encroachments, though claims of carrying routine checks in the town, remains mute spectator to the increasing problem.
The area also has many private clinics, and most of them have put out temporary encroachments, along the road, or are using it as parking, creating congestion.
Interestingly, the area is home to a number of VIPs, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar, district Congress president (urban) Pawan Dewan and renowned businessmen of the city. Even their vehicles are no exception to the traffic snarls.
“The situation is harrowing, mainly because of heavy movement of traffic. We have written to MC commissioner to develop a parking lot where a park is situated. That land has been encroached upon to make a park,” said Amarjeet Singh, president, Gol Market Association Model Town.
Local SAD councillor Maninder Pal Singh Makkar admitted that in a few areas, the problem was really serious. “We are coming up with a special plan to ease the congestion on roads. As the encroachers are hand in glove with inspectors of tehbazari wing, the menace is mushrooming,” he said.
Rule makers or rule breakers?
Ironically, Naveen Malhotra, superintendent of the tehbazari wing for Zone D, who is also the personal assistant of the mayor, lives in the area near Gol Market. But, still the official has failed to put a check on the increasing encroachments by shops in front of his house. A gift shop, owned by his son, is situated right opposite to his house, and has encroached upon the road. Locals said the encroachment increased during festivals.