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Paving the way for encroachment-free pavements
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Kurnool and Anantapur cities have initiated steps to make roads and footpaths pedestrian-friendly

September 16, 2022 12:34 am | Updated 08:38 am IST - ANANTAPUR / KURNOOL

The pavement near the Children’s Park occupied by the fast-food kiosks in Kurnool.

The pavement near the Children’s Park occupied by the fast-food kiosks in Kurnool. | Photo Credit: U. SUBRAMANYAM

Anantapur and Kurnool cities are no exception to the encroachment of public pavements alongside the main thoroughfares and in the residential colonies with impunity thanks to the political patronage they receive irrespective of party affiliations. If you thought only the local people occupied the pavements for promoting their businesses, officials of the municipal corporations too have contributed to the misery by erecting obstructions in the name of beautifying or greening the city.

Kurnool city has made a new beginning to free its pavement of the encroachers by removing the kiosks, push-cart vendors and other semi-permanent unauthorised businesses and make the stretch from Ballari Junction to Ulchala Junction (Kodumur) dust-free by paving the road, for which Rs.1 crore has been sanctioned.

At Raj Vihar Junction, walking on the pavement is more hazardous than walking on the road as large pots have been put up by the KMC for greenery. At Zilla Parishad, small vendors occupy the pavement and at A.P. Transco Office kiosks set up along the boundary wall went even to the extent of seeking power connection for their businesses, which was denied by the department. 

At Kondareddy Buruju, one of the prestigious monuments of the district, and at the entrance of the District Police Headquarters, the numerous book shops and vendors make it difficult for people to move freely. The kiosks at S.V. Complex do not allow pedestrians to use the space and they are forced to walk on the road leading to several accidents every day. At some places on the Ballari Road to New Bus Stand stretch people have reduced the 12-foot road to just half of it.

Municipal Commissioner A. Bhargav Tej tells The Hindu that they have identified 12 hawkers’ zones in the city to encourage vendors to shift to that place and leave the pavements for pedestrians. Talks are about to begin with Mayor B.Y. Ramaiah also very keen to develop the city. There are pressures from the local corporators and other influential people not to disturb the encroachments.

Road-widening in Anantapur

The 9.2 km road widening work within the city has given the Anantapur Municipal Corporation an opportunity to free the main roads of the encroachments and Anantapur Urban MLA Anantha Venkatarami Reddy is determined to clear the pavements. Municipal Commissioner K. Bhagyalakshmi says that they are reviewing the situation and acting as per need.

The MLA says that once the road connecting NH 44 and NH 42 is ready, it will provide 2.5 metres of pathway for pedestrians with service duct construction being taken up underneath on the sides. The most challenging stretch is the old town area and efforts by many politicians and officers did not bring results in the past to remove encroachments. In other places, chat and fruit vendors, and seasonal winterwear sellers occupy the pavements.

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