Patiala, September 20
The Municipal Corporation, in a midnight action, removed temporary encroachments on the Mall Road.
The MC officials, accompanied by over 100 police personnel, cleared the encroached footpaths and roadsides at 2.30 am on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. The action was initiated to declutter the road and clear the site for a project being initiated by the Public Works Department.
MC Commissioner Aaditya Uppal said the civic body would rehabilitate the vendors at another site adjacent to the temple. He said, “The vendors were removed to clear land for a Public Works Department project.”
While the corporation action is expected to bring some respite to commuters, the office has yet to implement its vendor rehabilitation project. Apparently, the MC’s plan to rehabilitate street vendors stands abandoned despite the expenditure on surveys and related exercises.
The MC carried out a survey in 2017 and identified 3,163 vendors to be rehabilitated at designated locations. In 2020, it carried out another survey and added 862-odd vendors to the list. The same year, it decided to implement a street vending plan and designated 28-odd places as no-vending zones, but never implemented the same. It also divided the vendors into three categories to collect charges ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 2,400, but the same is yet to be implemented.
In 2021, the MC shifted nearly 400 vendors from near the residence of former Mayor Sanjeev Sharma to a new site near Ghalori Gate, but never completed the exercise.
A resident said, “The MC acted against encroachers at midnight in 2021 too. No concrete steps followed the much-hyped action.”
MC officials pointed out that the office had been incurring huge losses for its failure to implement the street vending plan. “According to estimates, the MC could collect a minimum of Rs 3.86 crore per year from 4,025 identified vendors in case it decides to charge the minimum amount (Rs 800 per month) from all of them. The amount could exceed much and benefit the civic body if all vendors are properly rehabilitated and charged as per announced fee.”
MC Commissioner Aaditya Uppal said, “We are creating a food street at Tripuri where many street vendors dealing in food will be shifted. A similar food street will be created in Patiala.”
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