Drive to be launched against hawkers, hoardings; meeting today

The district administration is planning a drive to remove encroachments on footpaths and roads. Hoardings, flex boards, and banners will be removed. Hawkers will be asked to shift.

Political parties, trade unions, and social and religious organisations had not heeded a recent directive of the district administration to remove the encroachments. It was made clear that those who do not abide by the directive will have to remit the cost of the encroachments’ removal. “We are roping in Revenue, Police, PWD, and Excise departments, city Corporation, and the Kerala Road Fund Board — a Special Purpose Vehicle under the PWD — in this exercise to clean up roads, footpaths, and traffic junctions,” a top official of the district administration said.

State Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh, who is also the Road Safety Commissioner, would be roped in for the drive that would commence soon. The official said the district administration was preparing a road map based on details collected. A high-level meeting would be convened in the capital on Thursday to work out the modalities.

He said because of footpath encroachments, pedestrians were forced to move along the carriageway risking lives. In many places, tea shops had come up on the footpaths. Second-hand book-sellers in front of Ayurveda College and on the Nandavanam road; kiosks in front of the DCC office at Nandavanam, near the General Post Office, Kowdiar Junction Post Office and the Museum police station; fish vendors near Kuravankonam and Upidamoodu junctions; and tender coconut vendors in places such as Fort, Peroorkada, Sasthamangalam, and Murinjapalam were misusing roads and footpaths

Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Ltd (TRDCL), the concessionaire of City Road Improvement Project, had approached the District Collector and the City Police Commissioner seeking action against encroachers and those misusing roads, lamp posts, traffic signals and electric posts in the 42-km road stretch developed by them.

Road safety experts say anything protruding from the boundary of the road is a safety hazard for the pedestrians and the motorists. Moving displays at Pattom, Chakka, Vellayambalam, Pazhavangady and Overbridge that distract motorists will also face action during the drive.

The backlit advertisements on the compound walls of the Forest headquarters and Central Telegraph Office will also come under scrutiny during the drive as they divert attention of road users.