Vendors back at no-vending zones

Seen operating from Rock Garden parking lots, Sec 17 in violation of HC orders

Vendors back at no-vending zones

Vendors try to run with their items from Rock Garden after getting to know that MC employees are coming for a check on Sunday. Vicky

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16

Street vendors continue to operate from no-vending zones (Sectors 1 to 6 and 17) in the city against the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Nearly 10 street vendors were seen encroaching upon parking lots at Rock Garden today and carrying out their business. “It has become a routine here. Vendors often occupy the area and when enforcement officials come, they flee,” said a local resident.

Registered vendors operating in areas from Sector 1 to 6, comprising Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake, were shifted to the rear side of the Sector 7 market. However, barring a few, most vendors have not shifted there and the sites are lying vacant.

A large number of mobile cobblers and those selling sunglasses keep harassing the public in Sector 17 even after the major December 6 anti-encroachment drive last year. They keep following visitors selling them fake "branded" glasses at exorbitant prices.

“Many tourists who come from outside the city are not aware about it. They are chased and get cheated by these vendors. We have caught some of them and seized their stuff. However, they return as they carry less items at a time,” said an official of the enforcement wing of the MC.

Only "old cobblers" sitting besides the Neelam theatre have been permitted under the essential category. They pay a monthly vending fee to the MC.

Complaints have also been received from other areas of food joints putting up tables and chairs at undesignated areas during evening hours. It has been alleged that due to connivance of some officials, the practice of encroaching upon walkways and other government areas is still continuing in some sectors.

In November last year, the High Court had directed the authorities to remove all street vendors from no-vending zones by December 5. After this, vendors were shifted to alternative sites. However, many of them have not taken possession of the new sites.

The MC General House had earlier approved a whopping Rs 5.31 crore for providing basic facilities at 40 vending sites in the city, but nearly 2,000 of the 4,977 street vendors have not taken possession of the spaces allotted to them.

50 new sites identified

The civic body has now identified 50 new vending sites at Mauli Jagran, Hallo Majra, Bapu Dham and Sector 37. Vendors of these areas were sent to far-off places from the area where they were operating earlier. After councillors raised the issue in the House, the new sites were identified. "Those allotted spaces at far-off places will be accommodated as far as possible," said an official.

2 vendors arrested

Chandigarh: The police have arrested two vendors for obstructing public way by putting up their rehris. In the first case, Sanjay Kumar of Kishangarh village was arrested while he was obstructing public way with rehri/fari on Saturday. Later, he was released on bail. Another vendor, Rajesh Kumar of Mani Majra, was also arrested and later released on bail. A case under Section 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation) of the IPC has been registered at the IT Park police station.

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