Too many people, too little space. Combined effects of burgeoning population, growing unemployment and lax administration are responsible for encroachment of the city roads. This menace is growing each day and the solution seems nowhere near as the three contributing factors are here to stay. The problem of encroached roads leading to traffic problems is all the more pronounced in Ghaziabad as our city has earned itself the dubious distinction of 'no- rules-no-regulations-city'. Time and again, half hearted attempts have been made by the administration to curb encroachment but it has proved to be an exercise in vain as the removed structures have sprung back again in no time.

The Administration had once again geared up to fight encroachment recently and this time round, D.M. Nidhi Kesarwani had decided to take some concrete steps. In a meeting conducted on 3rd of March which was also attended by police officials besides administrative staff, it was decided that notices would be sent to people encroaching the roads from 5th of March onwards. D.M. made it clear that it was necessary to get rid of encroachment to ensure smoother flow of traffic and FIRs would be lodged if defaulters didn't remove it even after getting the notice. These orders were to affect not only those who sold their wares in make shift roadside stalls and shanties but also those shopkeepers who spread their wares on the walking pavement outside their shops. It was notified that challans would also be issued to those bus and auto drivers who stop their vehicles within 100m of a crossing to drop or pickup passengers. It was also in the agenda to issue a warning to the banquet and party hall owners to arrange for proper parking within their premises for their guests, for if their vehicles obstructed the roads and created traffic problems, FIR would be lodged against them. Some action against encroachment was witnessed in some areas but it looked more of a formality with shanties coming up as soon as they were removed. Its common knowledge that defaulters knew beforehand of the approaching anti encroachment team and they were fully prepared to take down and then again put up their structures when the action was over.

Vaishali and Vasundhara which started out as neat and open colonies with broad enough roads are now pathetic remanants of their formerselves. Shrunk to less than half their original width, their roads hardly have any space for smooth flow of traffic. Vehicles have to squeeze rather then drives through many such streches. In Vaishali, the main road of sec 4 market and the Kali Bari Mandir road are so much congested that it's a nightmare trying to navigate through in evenings. Similarly, the area of sec 2 main road and the road between sec 4 & 5 of Vaishali, which were originally meant to be residential areas have fully tranformed into commercial area with shops extending right up to the road engulfing all the sidewalks and walking lanes, with pedestrians squeezing through at the risk of being run over.

Meanwhile in Vasundhara, the stretch between sector 11 to sector 16/17 is the worst affected with all sorts of vendors from meat sellers to scrap dealers to clothes repair to auto repair to food stalls to fruit/vegetable sellers congesting the road. They not only conduct their business but have also built their dwellings behind their stalls, leaving hardly any space for pedestrians to walk, let alone drive. Unsocial elements with doubtful means of living who find shelter in these hutments are a threat to women's safety as well. Ogling and eve teasing might any day escalate into a much bigger episode if all this goes on unchecked.

A new hope has risen in the residents' heart with the land slide victory of the party which they have chosen so that law and order situation might improve along with other things. People are tired of lawlessness and crime and want security and peace in return of the faith they have shown in the new leadership. There's a lot that needs to be put right, the first step towards which could be clean and uncluttered roads. People should understand that roads are meant for commuting and not for buying, selling, eating, drinking, relieving etc. With combined efforts of administration and public, this aim can perhaps be achieved.

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