Banks and Stores Everywhere, Not an Inch to Move!

If somebody asks me how I am at this moment, I would tell them that my head is aching, my legs hurt, my pulse rate is at an all time high, the perspiration droplets have covered my forehead and I’m feeling a lot stressed out and irritated. And oh, I don’t need to rush to the doctor immediately for a check up as I have not caught a viral infection; these are due to constant braking and accelerating and de-accelerating. These are the side effects of living in a city where anything and everything is allowed to open up in any nook and corner. Wherever I go these days, I find an upsurge in the number of banks, shops and clinics that have opened up in the residential colonies.

The commercialisation of residential colonies and encroachments adversely impacts the lives of people living there. To elucidate my point, in Saket there are several banks on the road along with the famous convenience store chain, Spencers. In the adjoining Panchsheel area, along with the banks, the Max Hospital chain has taken up huge space in the narrow lanes of the colony. There is no specified built up parking space for the customers. Hence, people park their vehicles on the roads taking away much of the space or inside the colonies that leaves no space for the residents to park their vehicles. The end result is quite obvious; huge traffic jams and lots of noise pollution due to constant honking and shouting at each other.

Large scale commercialisation has had several adverse impacts on the citizens. Width of the roads have reduced leading to parking problems, non availability of space for free flow of traffic and even lack of walking space for the pedestrians. The chaotic traffic is a menace in this case. The peaceful environment of the colonies has obviously been hinged upon. Moreover, all these commercial structures run on residential electricity and water and hence creating shortage problems for the residents. The convenience stores have very aptly become inconvenience stores!

This is not the case with only Saket or Panchsheel. The problem is quite prevalent in many other colonies of Delhi. There are several inns and motels also now in colonies. Many affected people have tried to fight the construction of all these banks, clinics, inns and other stores within the colonies, but MCD and other government officials have seemed to have plugged cotton wool in their ears much to the chagrin of the harried citizens. With nobody to take care of their grievances, people are left with no choice but to just get accustomed with this entire hullabaloo.

With lot of zeal, MCD ran its sealing drive in 2007 and sealed many shops and the like operating in residential colonies. Strict guidelines were meted out not to carry out any commercial activities in residential spaces. So what is the reason for this sudden banks and stores spree in the colonies now? What is the explanation that people are freely letting out their residential spaces to banks? No wonder, all the rules and regulations of this country have confused me time and again and I haven’t ever been able to comprehend them fully.

So now what is the solution to these woes? In my opinion, the government should actually wake up to the concerns of the people (I know I’m asking for a lot here) and not allow any commercial store or a bank to open up in a residential colony until they have a well-detailed parking plans. All encroachments from the footpaths and the illegal constructions should be razed off on a priority basis. Also if a bank has opened up in a specific colony then its branches should not be allowed to open up within few kilometres of that. Distance limits should be set. But till the time, our dear government wakes up to our problems, keep sweating it out, keep fighting for parking spaces, waste lot of your precious fuel and keep wondering as to when these problems will come to an end and keep hoping for the metro to make a difference!

Shikha Tandon

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