How Much Srinagar Can Change In A Day?

SRINAGAR: Friday was officially declared holiday after former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee died. Saturday was also a holiday in Kashmir in memory of Shah-e-Hamdan, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani.

This left almost all the educational institutions closed. They are expected to remain on holiday for Sunday too. But certain landmarks can undergo a change in this much of time.

Non-locals, who had set up a temporary shop outside a state-run school near Iqbal park in Srinagar, on August 18, 2018.

In the afternoon on Saturday, this photograph was clicked near the Iqbal Park where the state-run Higher Secondary school for girls is located. Its gates are located slightly inside a lane. It was completely changed, although temporarily.

The gypsies who sell the petty sundry things had literally set up a shop in the small space of lane. The picture shows it all.

While this is temporary and no permanent occupation, this tells the story of a change that can be brought about in Srinagar. Most of Srinagar’s commercial spaces are so small and so congested that even an inch matters. It is costly too.

The encroachments, temporary or permanent, are not being done by non-local gypsies alone. They are mostly locals. Most of these things take place during the nights as darkness is a huge shield that people use to abuse the normality of life.

Last time, when the bulldozers moved in Goni Khan belt, what shocked people was that when the dozers took the encroachment away, there was the real shop inside. That shop probably belonged to some migrant and the new “owner” had blocked it with brick-work and started his shop from outside.

There are two types of responsibilities for people. Individuals who own must take care of their possessions. People who are deployed to protect the properties of the state must deliver. By the way, what is the Srinagar Municipal Corporation doing in preventing the crucial infrastructure that is being encroached upon?

Consider the Amira Kadal Higher Secondary remains closed for a month, it will be a full-fledged balloon manufacturing facility in the lane outside its gate. There is also a possibility that the shop may sit inside for some time!

During the month of fasting, the administration had launched a drive against beggars. That was a successful campaign. It did not take the last beggar out of the Srinagar streets but it reduced their number. Such campaigns must be a routine.

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