Delhi Development Authority
NEW DELHI: Their roads and pavements are wide, but the residents of Safdarjung Development Area avoid walking on them due to the widespread encroachment.
On Chaudhary Jhandu Singh Marg, which passes through the colony, it is difficult to find 100 metres of continuous, unobstructed and well-maintained pavement. Although it is not a notified commercial or `mixed land use' road, commercial activity is rampant. Guesthouses, nursing homes, banks and shops have all come up on the 1.5km stretch, increasing the demand for parking space.
Pavements rebuilt for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 have been turned into parking lots. Residents say visitors park outside houses, sometimes at the very gates. Some homeowners have fenced pavements with chains to prevent this.
"There is hardly any space to walk. Despite repeated complaints to police and the civic agencies, nothing has been done to rid the area of encroachment,'' said Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary of SDA's RWA. The Master Plan of Delhi-2007 allows certain commercial activities in residential areas, but Pawan, a resident, said the provisions are misused.Not only illegal parking but also hawkers and shop owners have encroached upon pavements.
The stretch outside SDA Club is completely taken over by vendors. Some have built semi-permanent structures while permanent shops also stand on the pavements. Virender, a street food vendor, said he had applied for a licence and showed the receipt for a form he had filled up to register with FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). "We will soon get a licence from the government to work here. We show this slip to the municipal and police officials whenever they visit.'' Even the corporation has added urban infrastructure mindlessly. A waterless urinal has been built right in the middle of the pavement.
Area councillor Shailender Singh Monty said the pavement was built after the urinal. As for encroachment on the pavement, he said, "We want to take action against encroachment but as the road belongs to PWD we can't do anything. Also, the South zone office has been facing an acute shortage of staff for the past few months, due to which we are not able to keep a check on encroachment".