Traders and their wares occupying footpaths is more of a norm in areas like Pathergatti, Charminar, Madina Building and Gulzar Houz. It is the same at Falaknuma, Kalapather, Bahadurpura and Shahalibanda

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘pavement’ as a place where pedestrians can walk and move freely. But in the Old City, it means business and ‘footfalls’. Hundreds of petty traders occupy them to eke out a livelihood. It is not a new trend, but an accepted norm here.

Partly responsible are the public representatives and local civic authorities. While there is a vendor policy to check the mushrooming number of roadside shops and kiosks, not much has been done in implementing it. As a result, footpaths in areas like Pathergatti, Charminar, Madina Building and Gulzar Houz are fully occupied. One also finds frenzied activity on footpaths in Falaknuma, Kalapather, Bahadurpura and Shahalibanda.

Malik (30) is the ‘proud owner’ of a roadside kiosk mending tyre punctures. He has been running it for the last several years at Kalapather. “The GHMC personnel removed it thrice, I came back again,” he says.

Mujeebuddin, 35, sells peepal tree leaves on the pavement near Charminar bus stand. A business he has been doing for several years, sitting at the same place. An estimated 1,500 people run their petty businesses from the sidewalks and pavements at the majestic Charminar alone.

The authorities had divided the city into three different zones — Red, Amber and Green. While no roadside activity is allowed in the Red zone, it is allowed during non-peak hours in Amber zone. In Green zone vendors can carry out their trade all through the day.

As part of the policy, the GHMC authorities were to issue photo identity cards to the vendors and also form local-level committees, but not much has materialised. Officials admit to the delay. Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Circle 5, Vijaya Laxmi says, “We will be reviewing the issue and taking necessary steps to form the committees.”

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