New Delhi: Members of a Resident Welfare Association have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking removal of encroachers from the pavement, asserting that the intrusion makes “pedestrians prone to accidents”.
President of United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations Rao V.B.J. Chelikani cited a 2019 judgment by the Supreme Court, which ruled that all those who have encroached footpath outside their premises should be given a notice to remove them or else charges of their removal would be recovered along with punitive measures in Delhi.
“It, in spirit, should be applicable to the whole of India,” the RWA wrote in the letter, adding that when pavements are encroached, damaged, or obstructed, a pedestrian is forced to go on to the roads, thereby becoming more vulnerable to accidents.
“Indian city footpaths are largely encroached upon, a more dangerous situation for senior and super-senior citizens, the sick, the disabled, and the children. It is strange that such sidewalks are uncared for by the city civic authorities and city traffic police,” the letter read.
Chelikani apprised that there are three types of encroachers — category one includes street vendors, hawkers, makeshift shopkeepers, who are the ‘most visible’ type, while the category two has shopkeepers which are ‘partially visible’.
According to him, category three causes “maximum harm” and includes house and building owners. “They invade the footpath spaces in front of their houses or buildings by constructing decorative gardens, sloping ramps and steps, tree plantation, mini-parking areas.”
The United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations suggested that the urban local bodies should compile the encroachment details under category 1, 2 and 3 and identify whether the encroachment is temporary or permanent, within a fixed time frame.
“A National Seminar on Encroachment Free Foot Paths under the aegis of MoHUA in association with CoRWA (Confederation of Resident Welfare Associations) should be organized in Delhi,” Chelikani further proposed.
He said that the actions should be strictly enforced so that no one occupies even an inch of ground, temporarily or otherwise, outside the four walls of his property as per the registered documents.