Despite all its trappings of discipline, Chandigarh is a victim of encroachments. The sprawling roads are often reduced to gullies as encroachers — fruit sellers to motor mechanics to people who park where they please — are present across the city.
Haphazard parking, vends right next to the road and clogged traffic at Apni Mandi in Sector 43, Chandigarh.
The law remains ineffective at these places, and there are now well-known spots where encroachment is seen as a given. The effect can be seen right from Sector 8 and 9 to 15, 19, 20-22, 26, 29, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, and 44-47, to Manimajra, Dadumajra, Kajheri, Maloya, Palsora, Industrial Area and Hallomajra.
The municipal corporation and police carry out drives to remove encroachments but apparently only to meet their target of a certain number of challans a year. Officers, after carrying out the drive, never go back to check the status. Vendors once removed come back, sometimes within hours.In the evening, stalls offering snacks in almost every market block the parking space. In Sector 22, the road leading to Shastri Market remains blocked with vendors displaying wares on both sides. The markets in Sectors 26 and 45 are classic examples of encroachment throughout the year. These encroachments not only block traffic but also pose a threat to the vendors themselves who can be hit by speeding motorists.
And its gets worse during the festival season — which is now around the corner — when the MC itself allows vendors to put up stalls in parking lots. Clogging is a natural outcome.
“Encroachments largely get no attention, but it is a serious issue affecting free flow of traffic,” says Arun Singh, a resident of Sector 44. MC officials say regular drives are carried out and every year around 36,000 challans are issued.
“I think ‘ter ms’ are completely defined between vendors and officers!” says Rashmi Dewan, resident of Sector 18, “There has to be a well-defined system so that officers act against encroachers regularly.”
During the festival season, almost a week before Diwali it becomes impossible to drive on city roads.
Vendors display wares on tables and gift items are sold by the road; vehicles parked haphazardly are a common sight. Serpentine queues and traffic jams last for up to an hour even on the inner roads.
The ‘Apni Mandi’, or farmers’ market, set up at different places every day, is a traffic hazard as well. Residents park their vehicles on both sides, while vendors set up stalls on footpaths and cycle tracks.
DON’T ALLOW FESTIVAL STALLS: POLICE TO MC
Keeping in view the festival season, the Chandigarh police have asked to the municipal corporation asking it not to allow stalls in parking areas. SSP, traffic,Maneesh Chaudhry has written to the MC no to designate parking lots as spaces for stalls. The traffic authorities have also urged schools to allow parking on their campuses after the school gets off and on holidays.