Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 10
Virtually reduced to the level of a patri bazaar with vendors and more vendors encroaching upon every possible open space in the UT markets, the country’s first planned city is all set to regain its lost distinction of a walkers’ paradise, with the Municipal Corporation undertaking before the Punjab and Haryana High Court to remove unauthorised vendors.
After years of slumber, the corporation told the Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu that it would remove the unauthorised and unregistered vendors within a month. The undertaking is expected to affect no less than 21,000 unregistered vendors across the city.
Taking a note of the undertaking, Justice Sharma, on behalf of the Bench, directed the UT Senior Superintendent of Police to render complete assistance to the corporation in its endeavour. The matter has been pending before different Benches for almost three years now. But the grand finale came less than two months after the matter was placed before Justice Sharma’s Bench.
As of now, the city has 5,034 registered vendors and 44 vending zones have been identified. Two draws of lot have already been held for allocating space in the vending zones. A third draw of lots is expected to be held soon.
The orders came on a bunch of two petitions filed against the Municipal Corporation and other respondents by Rajesh Kumar and other petitioner-owners of booths in Shastri Market, Sector 22-C.
On the previous date of hearing, Justice Sharma had observed that a question of vital public importance had been raised in the public interest litigation.
The principal grievance of the petitioners was that the vendors, hawkers and squatters had encroached upon the passages in front of their booths and it was adversely affecting their business.
Justice Sharma had asserted that the UT Administration had not taken effective steps to remove encroachments from public paths/passages and their complaints had not been addressed. The squatters had even occupied the walkways, pavements and parking spaces. The public at large, including customers, were put to lot of inconvenience as walkways and pavements were occupied unauthorisedly by unscrupulous people.
The Bench had then directed the UT Administration to remove all encroachments from the walkways, public paths, corridors and open spaces in front of booths, shops and showrooms. “We direct the UT Administration to ensure that showroom owner, shopkeeper or booth owner neither places any material/product in front of their premises nor hangs the same outside their premises. The Deputy Commissioner as well as the SSP, Chandigarh, shall be personally liable to implement the order in letter and spirit,” Justice Sharma had added.
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