Not giving two hoots about the authorities’ claims of anti-encroachment drives, traders in the rehri markets of the city continue to violate norms, so much so that even walls have been rented out at up to Rs 30,000 a month!
A visit by HT revealed the pathetic situation barely 10 days after a “month-long special drive” conducted by the municipal corporation (MC), and also the threat of misuse notices by the Estate Office. Last month, the enforcement wing of the MC had carried out periodic drives in Sector 22 and issued 40 challans too. But as of Tuesday, it was business as usual.
Corridors were again used for displaying wares, while the peripheral wall of the market too had the ‘shops on the wall’. Kashmira Singh, superintendent of the enforcement wing of the MC, did not take calls when HT sought to know the action plan ahead, particularly since the administration, using a large number of MC staff, had recently targeted encroachments and violations in a prime lane of Sector 17.
An enforcement official in the estate office, not authorised to speak with the media, claimed that their men along with those from the MC had been deputed for several checks a day in Sector 22 in the last month. “But even then, the situation used to go back to square one as soon as we left even for a break,” he acknowledged.
The situation is not very different in Sector 19.
Meanwhile, reflecting the state of affairs, the trend of renting out walls has spread to Sector 15 over the past few months. This has been a practice at Shastri Market in Sector 22 for years.
“The rent is collected on daily basis, as the shop owner does not want to lose money in case of enforcement action removing the wares on the rented-out wall,” said a dhaba owner in the Sector-15 market.