De­mo­li­tion drive in Ahmed­abad a hit with res­i­dents

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - Hi­ral Dave hi­

I’m sav­ing al­most 20 min­utes one way, from Ashram Road to SG High­way, roads are clearer and wider. Thanks to AMC and city po­lice

SHALEEN SHAH, res­i­dent

AHMED­ABAD: Ahmed­abad Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (AMC) ex­pected re­sis­tance as it de­puted teams to pull down il­le­gal con­struc­tions ob­struct­ing traf­fic in the city’s east­ern part on Thurs­day. It left noth­ing to chance and ar­ranged a po­lice cover. Far from any re­sis­tance, the teams were in for a sur­prise. The res­i­dents of­fered tea and wel­comed the mu­nic­i­pal staff out to do their job that would also rid them of the men­ace of fre­quent traf­fic jams.

“We wanted to send across a mes­sage that the mu­nic­i­pal staff need not ar­rive with SRP (state re­serve po­lice ) per­son­nel. They are wel­come here if, fi­nally, they are help­ing bring an end to the men­ace of the traf­fic jams,” said Jayaben Pa­tel, a res­i­dent.

Over 50,000 sqm or an area equal to al­most 10 foot­ball fields has been freed of en­croach­ments as part of an on­go­ing drive.

His­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments like Teen Dar­waja, Bhadra Fort, Dilli Dar­waja, Lal Dar­waja, which were in­stru­men­tal in get­ting Ahmed­abad In­dia’s first Her­itage City tag, have also been freed of en­croach­ments. A par­al­lel aware­ness drive, too, has been go­ing on in the fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal of Gu­jarat.

Most of the city’s 6.3 mil­lion res­i­dents ap­pear to be happy. Res­i­dents launched a so­cial me­dia cam­paign when re­ports sug­gested that mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Vi­jay Nehra and po­lice com­mis­sioner AK Singh may be trans­ferred in the wake of the anti-en­croach­ment drive.

“Sav­ing al­most 20 min­utes one way, from Ashram Road to SG High­way, roads are clearer and wider. Thanks to AMC and city po­lice,” tweeted Shaleen Shah, an­other res­i­dent. Ahmed­abad mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Vi­jay Nehra re-tweeted Shah’s tweet.

The Gu­jarat high court had pulled up the AMC and po­lice last month for ig­nor­ing its or­der passed in May to ad­dress is­sues of traf­fic snarls and pot­holes.

Hun­dreds of cars and twowheel­ers have been seized for vi­o­lat­ing park­ing rules and many il­le­gal restau­rants, in­clud­ing in sev­eral pop­u­lar street food zones like Law Gar­den, Khau Gali, have been razed. Restau­rants, pri­vate schools, hos­pi­tals have been asked to make park­ing ar­range­ments.

“We are go­ing by three el­e­ments – en­gi­neer­ing, en­croach­ment and aware­ness. Un­der en­gi­neer­ing, new park­ing lots have been cre­ated and al­lot­ted. A mega de­mo­li­tion drive is on to make the city en­croach­ment free while aware­ness cam­paigns are be­ing run through var­i­ous medium,” Vi­jay Nehra said.

The AMC this week al­lot­ted 46 new plots for park­ing. It has been plan­ning to build five mul­ti­level park­ing lots cov­er­ing dif­fer­ent zones. The AMC has cleared an an­nual bud­get of over ₹14 crore to rope in the SRP to en­sure that en­croach­ments do not resur­face.

The street food own­ers took out a rally ear­lier this week and are plan­ning to move the high court against the drive.

“The tra­di­tional and age-old food streets and mar­kets will be pro­vided al­ter­nate op­tions to make sure that cul­ture and liveli­hood in the city are not af­fected,’’ Vi­jay Nehra added.

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