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Markets under grab

The public spaces in the city markets are under grab and the enforcement officials have become tired of clearing the passages everyday, reports Reetinder Shergill.

chandigarh Updated: Feb 06, 2009 01:59 IST
Reetinder Shergill

The public spaces in the city markets are under grab and the enforcement officials have become tired of clearing the passages everyday.

The foot room in the shopping corridors has shrunk enough to cause concern.

Street vendors like Raju in Sector 17 say they have become quicker at wrapping up the merchandise during the enforcement raids. Raju’s relatives who do their business in the other markets have also mastered the technique.

Vikas, who has a shop in Sector 17, is upset that the piazza becomes a paradise for grabbers in the evening.

The public areas of Sector 17, Sadar Bazar, Palika Bazar in Sector 19 and Shastri Market in Sector 22 are under massive encroachment. In Sector 22, the makeshift stalls have made the passages narrow, even as the range of items on display has got wider.

The vendors have affixed wooden panels to the walls to hang clothes and bags and put pushcarts on the footpath to draw buyers to their shops.

Mehndi artists have occupied the parking lot in Sector 22 and put their benches right in the passage of vehicles.

Fines do not deter the grabbers, as the highest penalty is only Rs 800. Inspector Kaushik of the Enforcement Wing says he has got tired of his everyday routine of removing wares from the passages and streets and imposing fines on people who are “incorrigible”.

“The women selling goods on the footpath are rowdy and it’s difficult to deal with them,” he adds.

Former senior deputy mayor Ravinder Pal Singh Pali says making the makeshift shops legal will only encourage more indiscipline. “The civic body has marked designated zones for street markets, but the vendors are after the extra buck they make in the crowded areas,” he says.

Concerned citizens suggest that the Enforcement Wing should concentrate on making the entire city free of grabbers and begin with clearing the public spaces in Sectors 22 and 19, which are so congested that fire and stampede may happen anytime.

When that happens, there will be little space to bring in the fire engines.