Following the Nainital bandh called by shopkeepers on Thursday against illegal encroachment by roadside vendors in Pant Park and other localities of town, the sites occupied by roadside vendors remained largely vacant on Friday. The district administration, police and municipal officials were active since the morning to prevent vendors from encroaching at these sites. On the other hand, the roadside vendors also held a meeting in Pant Park to discuss their plan of action. While stressing that they will not tolerate harassment, the vendors demanded that they should be allowed to set their stalls at Pant Park and Gurudwara pathway for two days till vendor zones are demarcated. They threatened to start an agitation if their demand is not met. They alleged that they have been demanding demarcation of vendor zones for quite some time now but the authorities have not done this yet. Meanwhile, the municipality executive officer Rohitash Sharma said that with adequate police force, the municipality can ensure that no illegal kiosks and vending points are plied in town. The police have assured full support to the municipality for preventing encroachment. On the same day, a meeting of the committee formed for demarcation of vendor zones was also held but no concrete solution could be reached. The vendors expressed dissatisfaction at the absence of the municipality executive officer, police and administrative officers from the meeting. They alleged that the municipality was not adhering to the orders of the court in this regard. Chairing the meeting, the municipality tax superintendent Lata Arya informed that a list of 143 vendors had been made for their shifting. She suggested that the vendors could be relocated to Hanumangarh and Barapatthar areas but the vendors did not agree to this.
It is pertinent to mention here that like in most towns across Uttarakhand, road side vendors and encroachments for commercial activities cause traffic congestion and other civic problems in Nainital. The local and state authorities are now working to address the situation, though skeptics are not convinced about the efficacy of the actions in the state where vendors zones have not been introduced properly even in the provisional state capital Dehradun.
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