LAHORE - The once wide and capacious roads of the city seems to have been fallen to the swelling tide of encroachments. Encroachments of different kinds - like push-cart, hand-cart and donkey-cart, vendors and stall-holders as well as restaurant owners have turned the major roads into narrow lanes, reveals a survey conducted by The Nation. These city roads, in fact, are grappling with different type of encroachments such as moveable - in form of illegally constructed makeshift shops, stalls and carts. While in the immovable form, influential people have erected structures or constructed parts of their buildings and shops, permanently, by encroaching the roads. However, the authorities concerned of the CDGL are too busy with removing encroachments from Ferozpur Road, to make it a model road in the city, as desired by the Punjab Chief Minister. On the CMs directions, extraordinary measures are being taken to make the road encroachment-free. But on the other, this intense concentration on Ferozpur Road, is resulting in making the departments concerned negligent about the major civic problem of the city and are ignoring encroachments on other important roads. Experts of the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) are of the view that traffic in the city can not be streamlined in the presence of encroachments on roads. They point out that encroachments are the major cause of traffic mess on most of city roads, particularly the roads in commercial areas. Moreover, the encroachers have not even spare footpaths of the major roads including The Mall, Jail Road, Ferozpur Road, Circular Road, Allama Iqbal Road, Lower Mall, Ravi Road, Multan Road and Jain Mandar Chowk in general and that of commercial areas like Hall Road, Abid Market, Baden Road, Ichhra Bazaar, Main Market and Liberty Market Gulberg, Anarkali Bazaar, and various markets of the city in particular. It has been observed that countless vendors have set up makeshift stalls and shops on footpaths and roads, especially in Shah Alam Market, Anarkali Bazaar, Bhatti Chowk, Delhi Gate, Empress Road, Davis Road, Garhi Shahu, on the service road along Ravi Road and a number of other roads, with the connivance of the officials of town concerned and in sheer violation of CDG rules and regulations. Meanwhile, the encroachers, to whom this scribe talked, justified their encroachments, saying that the officials of the respective towns of the City District Government Lahore were extorting sufficient amount from them as [rent] to legitimise their structures on roads and footpaths. Another factor that contributes a lot to this public nuisance, is the setting up of stalls in front of shops in almost all the main and busy markets. The shopkeepers, charge a monthly rent from these stall-holders, commensurate with the location of market and size of stalls. These stalls, though augment the income of shopkeepers, but make both the pedestrians and commuters to experience the worst nightmare. People who normally go out in the night with their families, for dinner or long drive can evaluate the actual width and capacity of roads, contrary what they notice in the day, suggested Shakeel Ahmad, a shopkeeper at McLeod Road. Hafiz Naeem, a trader in Hall Road said that most of the city roads were still wide enough to withstand the traffic load if the government launched a well-organised anti-encroachment operation. Only sincere efforts, on the part of the authorities concerned can guarantee success of any such operation against the encroachers, said Ameer Ali, a social worker, adding that which although seemed impossible because the encroachers, mostly, either grease palm of the officials concerned or be the near and dear ones of influential persons or political leaders.