Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 17
Virtually rapping the authorities concerned for converting tourist attraction Chandigarh into a vending zone, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued directions for the immediate removal of unregistered vendors from Sector 17 while making it clear that the city’s downtown and Sector 1 to 6 were no-vending zones.
Directions were also issued for allocating proposed sites to the registered vendors. For the purpose, the Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and first puisne Justice Rajiv Sharma set a four-week deadline.
The Bench also made it clear that only essential service providers described under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Municipal Corporation Chandigarh Bylaws-2018 will be allowed to operate from Sector 17.
Essential service providers under the bylaws mean street vendors providing essential services within the vicinity, including cobbler, milk, bread and egg seller, tea vendor, cycle/rickshaw repairer, etc.
The Bench also directed the competent authority in the Municipal Corporation and the UT Administration to consider and pass appropriate orders on representations filed by Sector 15 and other residents and even the vendors.
The directions came on a bunch of petitions filed by Rajesh Kumar and other respondents against the Chandigarh Administration, the Municipal Commissioner and other respondents.
Taking up the matter, the High Court added that the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) would be responsible if the authorities concerned failed to take action against unregistered vendors.
The development is significant as there are 9,356 registered vendors in the city. In all, there are 44 vending zones in a city which entail more than 5, 000 vending sites for the registered vendors.
Available information suggests there are 641 registered vendors in Sector 17 alone. They would now be shifted to the sites earmarked as vending zones.
The Bench was of the opinion that the no-vending zones would lose their significance if the vendors were not shifted. Fixing the case for further hearing on November 19, the Bench also called for a status report.
The Bench, during the course of hearing, was today told that no less than 15,760 challans were issued under the Street Vendors’ Act so far this year. Giving the break-up, the MC told the Bench that 160 unregistered vendors from Sector 17, 300 from Sector 19 and 350 from Sector 32 were removed.
The Bench was also told that anywhere between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 12 lakh were being paid as rentals by shopkeepers. They were also paying property and other taxes yet there were vendors in front of the showrooms.
Senior advocate Puneet Bali added that Sector 17 was declared a no-vending zone in 2017, but the UT Administration did not remove the vendors. After years of slumber, the MC had on September 10 told the Bench that it would remove the unauthorised and unregistered vendors within a month. Taking a note of the undertaking, Justice Sharma, on behalf of the Bench, had on the previous date of hearing directed the UT SSP to render complete assistance to the corporation in its endeavour.
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