EditorialAnti-Encroachment Drive or Drama ?

Anti-Encroachment Drive or Drama ?


The recent anti-encroachment drive conducted at various places in Gandhi Nagar by the civic body— Municipal Corporation—has undoubtedly gained significant attention in both print and electronic media. However, it seems as though the portrayal suggests that encroachment has become a thing of the past in the areas covered under the drive. In reality, the situation is contrary to what is being projected and hyped. Dismantling small structures in front of shops or seizing goods displayed wouldn't make a lasting difference, as these things are likely to be reconstructed or replaced in no time.

Instead of creating scenes to gain popularity, it would have been more meaningful if the JMC officials would have roped in representatives of the Market Associations and given instructions to remove all encroachments and place goods well within the limits of the shops, as hardly there is any market in Jammu which has not elected its own traders' association to deal with such issues. Going berserk and engaging backhoe loaders to haphazardly dismantle steps and other constructions by the JMC is totally useless and unjustified move because when the things could be executed amicably then there was no need to accomplish such actions which paint a wrong picture about the functioning of the civic body, as working in such a manner showcases lack of civility.

This move by the JMC, which has garnered criticism of the civil society as well because many members of political, social and trader fraternities have condemned the way the things have been carried out in the name of the so-called anti-encroachment drive. This was not the first time because anti-encroachment drives initiated by authorities often find themselves caught in a paradox where their efficacy is questioned, and they are perceived as mere namesake exercises primarily designed to generate headlines. JMC has never been found sincere in its drive against the encroachments of public infrastructure and public utilities like footpaths etc. One can find worst violation just under the nose of Town Hall and its periphery markets like Hari Market, Ranbir Market, Raghunath Bazar, Upper and Below Gummat, City Chowk and Link Road, Kanak Mandi, Lakhdata Bazar  so on and so forth where it is difficult to even walk through.

Quite often, the execution of these drives frequently fall short, leaving room for skepticism and the need for subsequent follow-ups. One of the primary challenges faced by anti-encroachment drives is the systemic issue of half-hearted implementation as the execution often lacks the rigor required for a comprehensive and lasting impact.

Encroachments may be removed temporarily, but without sustained efforts, these spaces can quickly become occupied once again. Public awareness and engagement are crucial elements, as citizens need to understand the necessity of these drives.

To truly make a lasting impact, authorities must craft anti-encroachment drives with a comprehensive strategy that addresses root causes, involves the public, and ensures sustained urban management. Only then can these initiatives shed the tag of being symbolic and emerge as transformative processes contributing to the betterment of urban spaces.




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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