Pay and encroach with impunity that is the mantra that the MC officials are following in their continued patronage to vendors wanting to sell their wares from public spaces, HT investigations have revealed. Sample this:
More than Rs 2 lakh is collected in such fees by encroachers and there is well-connected and welloiled machine at work for the collection and distribution of money. Nearly 200 encroachers pay Rs 6,000 per month. Even for the 90 walls, there are charges ranging between Rs 50 and Rs 100 depending upon the wares. Even the toilet walls are not spared.
Illegal vendors in Sadar Bazaar and Palika Bazaar in Sector 19 allegedly collect more than Rs 1. 25 lakh per month . Sectors 15, fur niture market in Sector 34 and Krishna market in Sector 41 combine to collect more than Rs 25,000 for the MC officials and in Sector-17, Encroachers reportedly pay Rs 50,000 to officials.
How the money is collected?
Ravinder Singh, a shopkeeper in Sector 22 Shastri market says:
“In every market, there are two to three encroachers, who collect money daily and secretly hand over them to the municipal corporation officials. The money is distributed to staff attached with the MC officials and to senior officers get money on monthly basis,” he said.
Divide among shop owners in Shastri market shop owners
There are around 300 shops in Sector-22 Shastri Market and of which 150 owners do not seem to have any problem with the encroachers, while rest are protesting against it.
Sham Sunder Arora, president, Shastri Market Welfare Association, Sector-22 said, “I feel there are no encroachments in the market as our association is taking care of it. I visit the market every two hours to keep a tab on the menace.
However, when this HT reporter visited the market on Wednesday, there was no space to walk and wares were found hanging on most of walls of shops.
Market secretary Ashwani Kumar said, “We feel like laughing, when people say that there is no encroachment in the market. I feel that most of the shopkeepers, the municipal corporation officials and the police are involved in the this rampant illegal activity.”
A possible solution
The need of hour is make changes in the MC act and give the civic body the power to register a case and issue a challan with the habitual offenders. The fine should be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.
At the same time, it is the duty of the UT administration and police also check the menace. The area councillors should not back the encroach ers for votes. Unless and until, the accountability of the officer concerned and the area inspector is fixed, the situation will not improve.
Moreover, the MC officers on duty should be transferred regularly to other areas to stop corruption. MC Councilor from Sector 22, Pardeep Chhabra said, the powers of enforcement should be delegated to road and horticulture department. Most important, the police should an important role to curb the menace and with this violators will fear the police, he said.
Where to lodge a complaint?
Kashmira Singh, superintendent of enforcement wing - 9872511171 Online complaint can be lodged at www.mcchandigarh.nic.in