Concern over footpath encroachment, police-lessee nexus in Jorhat town

A Correspondent

Jorhat, April11: Most of the footpaths in Jorhat city have been illegally occupied by roadside vendors ahead of Bihu. Both sides of AT Road, JB Road and many other areas like Chowk Bazar have been blocked by these vendors, making it inconvenient for pedestrians.

Expressing concern, several senior citizens of the city on Saturday said that neither police nor the municipal board had taken measures to clear the illegally occupied footpaths. “As footpaths are occupied at Tarajan, Chowk Bazar and in many busy areas of the city, pedestrians have started walking on the main roads during the rush-hour traffic. Why has the district administration not taken any steps to clear the footpaths,” asked a septuagerian pedestrian at Chowk Bazar area who is a retired school teacher in Jorhat.

Alleging government negligence towards the necessary infrastructural improvement in Jorhat, the retired teacher said that Jorhat “cannot exactly be called a city” due to poor infrastructure of roads and draige system, although it was officially announced by the State Government as the only Upper Assam city years ago.

Some other citizens alleged a nexus between a section of corrupt police personnel and some lessees of the municipal board which has encouraged such illegal occupation of footpaths by the roadside businessmen who have to pay the ‘law enforcers’ on a daily basis. They alleged that officials of the district transport officer were refraining from checking the violation of traffic rules by several three-wheelers in the urban localities of Jorhat due to which people were facing inconvenience.

Expressing concern over the problem faced by Jorhat pedestrians, the sub-divisiol unit of AASU here on Saturday demanded that the district administration and Jorhat Municipal Board should take initiative to clear the illegally occupied footpaths across the city.

“Illegal occupation of footpaths is a major problem in our city. We demand that the district administration and municipal board should take legal action against such activities. Many times pedestrians meet with accident during rush hours  because they were forced to choose the busy roads for walking instead of footpaths which are illegally occupied by roadside traders,” said Kukil Das, president of the AASU unit of Jorhat subdivision.

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