While a HUDCO-sponsored study has pointed out that the streets of Amritsar are becoming narrower due to encroachments, the problem has increased manifold in the city, with almost every nook and cranny being infested by it. Encroachments have so far been flourishing right under the nose of the officials concerned, but the Amritsar municipal corporation now seems to have awakened out of its slumber to take notice of these and do something about them.
From Tuesday onwards, the MC teams would be seen scouring various localities to remove infringements along the roadsides. They will start their drive from the periphery of the Golden Temple, where the verandahs on the outer side of the Sikh shrine have been occupied by encroachers.
The MC authorities decided to commence the drive from the vicinity of the Golden Temple as they had noticed encroachments during a recent visit to the area.
These infringements also include dumping of construction material along the roads, against which the MC has so far failed to take any effective action. Though every now and then, the district administration imposes a ban on dumping construction material along the roadside, no one bothers to pay heed to it.
According to municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal, a number of such encroachments can be seen as one comes down from Kithclew Chowk flyover towards the district courts. "There are a few shops in front of the office of ADC (development) dealing in construction material that have dumped construction material along the footpaths. The MC intends to turn its attention to encroachments such as these. The dealers would have to face the music for dumping construction material along the roadside," he said.
Sabharwal maintained that such infringements could also be seen while moving towards the Attari border.
He said that in its initial phase, the MC drive would concentrate on removing encroachments from areas around the Golden Temple, the Hall Gate and Pink Plaza. "A number of devotees and tourists visit the Golden Temple daily. We do not want that they should suffer any kind of harassment due to encroachments or unsanitary conditions prevailing there. Our aim is to keep the area clean and beautiful," he said.
Thereafter, the MC also intends to remove the encroachments in the Civil Lines area. "Special teams have been constituted to deal with encroachments in different parts of the city," he said. The municipal commissioner further said that a mechanism was being worked out to ensure that once the encroachments are removed, the encroachers do not indulge in such acts again.