The anti-encroachment drive launched by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) last month has reached nowhere as majority of markets in Panchkula still remain heavily encroached and thus chaotic.
The problem of vendors illegally encroaching upon market corridors in front of shops is grave in the city. The problem is prevalent in almost all the markets, especially in Sectors 7,8, 9, 10, 11 and 15.
To tackle the chronic problem, HUDA had started issuing notices to the violators last month after taking photographs and videographing the areas where encroachments were rampant. However, the drive lost steam within a few days.
Senior official, on request of anonymity, maintained that the drive failed to sustain as estate officer (EO) Mahavir Kaushik, was shifted to other department soon after the drive was launched and the post was now lying vacant, while HUDA administrator Sanjeev Verma went on leave for training abroad.
In the past as well, multiple rounds of clearance drives carried out by HUDA had failed to get rid of the violators. On May 19, Panchkula deputy commissioner (DC) Vivek Atray had directed HUDA and Panchkula municipal corporation to conduct regular drives to remove encroachments in the city. “Encroachment is one of the major problems in the city and concrete steps need to be taken by all the agencies to tackle the problem,” said Atray.
NEXUS BETWEEN ENFORCEMENT STAFF AND ENCROACHERS: MLA
Local MLA Gian Chand Gupta expressed helplessness in tackling the problem. Gupta stated that he had taken up the issue with officials concerned on a number of occasions, but nothing much had changed on the ground except for superficial drives carried out after complaints. Lashing out at the enforcement staff, Gupta alleged that they were hand-in-glove with the encroachers. “The encroachers cannot occupy space without the patronage of the enforcement staff,” said Gupta, who called for making efforts to break the nexus.
Most of these encroachments are temporary in nature, but some of the traders have even constructed concrete platforms in front of their shops.
In the past, HUDA had conducted a survey to identify areas affected by encroachments.
The beopar mandal has also taken up the issue with the authorities on several occasions. Panchkula Beopar Mandal president Kuldeep Chitkara also slammed the authorities for not doing enough to address the problem. “The authorities have been acting as a mute spectator and the encroachers continue to violate the norms with inpunity,” said Chitkara.