Kings of footpaths are encroachers: pedestrians in peril
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Kings of footpaths are encroachers: pedestrians in peril

February 6, 2024

Mysore/Mysuru: Footpath encroachments in the heart of the city is back to trouble pedestrians. The general public and road users are demanding the authorities to permanently rein in the encroachers along with roadside vendors to address the menace.

The footpaths around K.R. Circle extending towards Devaraja Market on Sayyaji Rao Road, Gandhi Square and surroundings areas are encroached upon by vendors selling fruits, garments, footwears, fancy items among others, who won’t even spare the road sides, severely inconveniencing the road users. This often leads to accidents and street fights.

With the haphazard parking of vehicles and roadside vendors occupying footpath space, the pedestrians are forced to hit the roads, struggling to wade through vehicles. The senior citizens on foot have to face hardships, which is rather inexplicable.

Eve teasing menace

Girish, a pedestrian said “Women have to face the torment of ogling youths who resort to eve teasing as they struggle to walk through the busy lanes. Umpteen requests made to jurisdictional Devaraja Police and Lashkar Police Stations and also Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner have yielded zero results.”

The road that leads to Sayyaji Rao Road from Dodda Gadiyara near Rangacharlu Memorial Town Hall through Gandhi Square is reduced to a narrow stretch after the Olympia Theatre junction. Adding to the congestion is the footpath encroachment on either side, making it even more difficult for the pedestrians to walk with ease.

Though there is an increase in the number of footpath vendors with every passing day, Abhaya, emergency team of MCC, is doing a perfunctory job of clearing them along with seizing the articles. Surprisingly, the vendors return along with the same articles to set up shop at the same spot. Hence, any complaints in this regard will be met with little or no response, argue many who spoke to Star of Mysore.

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Embarrassing moments

Girl students from rural areas pursuing various courses at the colleges in the city prefer to walk through the same lane to reach KSRTC Sub-Urban Bus Stand on Mother Teresa Road. But they have to suffer embarrassing moments with eve-teasers troubling them. Despite bringing it to the notice of City Police, it is not bearing any results, rued Suma and her friends who are pursuing PUC at a city college.

It may be mentioned that the MCC had launched footpath vendors eviction drive in July 2023, identifying the epicentres of encroachments in Central Business District (CBD) area namely, Sayyaji Rao Road, Dhanvantri Road, Town Hall, Old Bank Road, Shivarampet, Santhepet, Irwin Road, Ashoka Road and B.N. Road.

The eviction drive began from Sayyaji Rao Road, but met with stiff resistance from vendors who vouched to conduct business without coming in the way of pedestrians. But the disorder continued, with footpath vendors setting up make-shift shops according to their whims and fancy after a few days.

This followed the heated discussion in MCC Council about footpath encroachments and the then Mayor Shivakumar and MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy taking a serious look into the issue. However, the continued action faded into oblivion with the subsequent transfer of the MCC Commissioner and the expiry of the term of MCC Council in November 2023.

In other localities too

The encroachment of footpaths and roadsides is not restricted to heart of the city. Similar is the situation on a stretch of New Sayyaji Rao Road from Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Circle (Highway Circle) to Old RMC Junction, where juice vendors, automobile showrooms, hotels and other business outlets have encroached upon the footpath space.

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Similarly, Mission Hospital Road in Mandi Mohalla, Shivaji Road in NR Mohalla, Old Bank Road near Prabha Theatre, Ashoka Road and surroundings, are also partly encroached upon by footpath vendors and roadside vendors.

Editor’s Note: Our office is inundated with phone calls and personal visits of victims of cramped footpaths and misbehaviour of the urban lumpen. Chikkagadiyara was developed into a beautiful place (social gathering place) to sit and relax to the shoppers at heavy cost spending lakhs of rupees. But the vendors are back again in that area. Likewise in many places where pre-owned cars are sold or motor-lorry workshops are located, the main road itself is encroached upon. Is there a nexus between these people and the authorities, ask the tax-payers.

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