Encroachment along Chandranigahpur road section continues unabatedThe highway and sidewalks are still peppered with food and vegetable stalls.
Chandrapur Municipality has done little to clear illegal vendors from the roadside in Chandranigahpur, four months since the local unit made a decision to evict them. Chandranigahpur is one of the busiest towns along the East-West Highway and is a rest stop for most vehicles passing by.
Following widespread criticism, the municipality four months ago made the decision to stop the encroachment of roadside land in Chandranigahpur. The decision was made in chairpersonship of Mayor Ramchandra Chaudhary, representatives from the area police, division road department, district traffic police, and other stakeholders.
But four months on, the encroachment continues, and criticism keeps on mounting. The highway and sidewalks are still peppered with food and vegetable stalls.
Deputy Mayor Ramrati Chaudhary said the municipality is committed to enforcing the decision to clear the roadside properties. “An upcoming municipal meeting will make a concrete decision towards solving the problem,” she said. “There are other problems as well, such as parking. We are trying to solve them all at once.”
Prior to this, the area police, district police and traffic had banned vendors from setting up stalls along the highway six years ago. There have been repeated attempts since then, but the vendors haven’t budged. The encroachment goes into overdrive during festivals. Chief Inspector of District Traffic Shailesh Neupane said unchecked stalls and haphazard parking are among the major causes of road accidents in the section. “We can’t do anything unless the municipality takes a concrete step,” he said.
The street vendors the Post talked to said that they have no option than put up their shops on the roadside.
“We can’t afford to rent space for a shop, and we don’t have a job either,” said Pandit Prasad, a street vendor who sells fruits.
In Chandranigahpur, it’s not only the street vendors who have breached the rules. Many buildings have been erected on the highway’s roadsides. Some have built a barn for cattle on the roadsides. According to the Division Road Office’s criteria, there should be a 25 metres of open space on each side of the highway, and 15 metres on auxiliary roads.