Dharwad: Intensifying the anti-encroachment drive, which it had initiated on Friday, the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation on Saturday razed to the ground several petty shops that had occupied pavements of busy roads and brought down several temporary structures erected for extending stalls.
As many as eight earthmovers were deployed and Municipal Commissioner Major Siddalingayya Hiremath, with his team of officials, monitored the clearance drive.
Criticism from different quarters about the inefficiency of the municipal corporation in clearing encroachments on pavements, which forced pedestrians to walk on the roads risking their lives, had built pressure on the corporation to act.
The 60 ft wide Subhash Road had been reduced to 20 ft as fruit sellers, flower vendors and vegetable sellers had erected temporary structures and even the vegetable market had been reduced to a narrow lane as the stall owners extended their shops through temporary structures. During the clearance drive that kicked off at 6 a.m. and went on till 1 p.m., there were some instances of vendors entering into argument with the HDMC staff and tried to stall the drive. But the presence of adequate number of police personnel ensured that the drive continued unhindered. Roughly around 200 illegal structures, extensions and stalls were brought down on Saturday.
HDMC authorities clarified that notices had been served to the authorised stall owners to remove the encroachments on their own, but since they did not take the notices seriously they were forced to clear them using earthmovers.
On the second day of the drive, pavements and roads were cleared at Akkipeth, Subhash Road, Nehru Market and the interior road road leading to Srinivas Talkies. The drive will continue for a few more days in Dharwad and subsequently, the encroachments in Hubballi would be cleared as per the assurance given by the Municipal Commissioner at the munici