NEW DELHI: Unauthorised encroachment of the main Vaishali Market in Ghaziabad is causing a lot of inconvenience to the residents and also leading to huge loss of revenue by the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation. Interestingly, the encroachment is done in connivance with the shop owners.

The market is located at Sector 4, Vaishali and is the major hub of marketing activities of Ghaziabad, the satellite city of the national capital. It was built by the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) but now is under the control of Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation.

A large number of residents of nearby localities complained that the huge parking space has been “given on rent” to roadside hawkers, illegally, by the shop owners, who allegedly “collect” the “rent” from the hawkers. It estimated that the total monthly ‘collection’ could be to the tune of Rs 40 lakh.

“First of all, the parking space is being misused, leading to encroachment. Moreover, had the corporation rented out this parking space to the hawkers, the civic body would have earned the revenue. But the money to going to unauthorized persons. We as citizens are facing the hardship because of the encroachment, while the government is losing out on the revenue front. Therefore, it’s a two-way loss and government is allowing it to happen,” said an affected resident of the locality, Rajnish Kumar (name changed on request).

Said another resident of the area: “There is complete lack of basic civic amenities. There are many hawkers who have encroached the streets and adjoining footpath causing immense inconvenience to the residents. Because of the encroachment, there is virtually no parking space left for the authorised shopkeepers or office owners to park their vehicles. Many of us have to park our vehicles on the road which adds to traffic congestion. Our tyres are often deflated and at times even our vehicles are damaged by the unauthorized occupants.”

Following massive complaints pouring in from different quarters, Commissioner of Meerut division (under which Ghaziabad falls) Prabhat Kumar directed the GDA to set up an enforcement team, which removed the encroachments, in September last year. However, the situation in the market came back to square one, within a week.

The residents have again written to the concerned authorities for decision action to free the market from unauthorised encroachment. However, so far no action has been taken in this regard.

Sahibabad MLA Sunil Kumar Sharma told The Sunday Guardian that he was aware of the problem. “I know it is a big problem. Encroachments are being done in connivance with the shop owners themselves. These were removed also in the past but have come up again. I will request the affected residents to meet me. I will try to work out a permanent solution to the problem,” he said. Ghaziabad DM Ritu Maheshwari could not be contacted for her remarks. 

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