The unplanned squatting on the city’s roads is here to remain. While there are more than one lakh vendors operating in Delhi, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has been able to find sites for only 2,300 of them to date due to the non-availability of space. Even the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Delhi development Authority (DDA) have refused to allow space to the civic agency to allot sites in areas under their jurisdiction.
As per the Supreme Court’s directions, the civic agencies were supposed to re-allocate the vendors to take care of problems like inadequate walking space for pedestrians and traffic congestion caused due to unorganised squatting.
“There is hardly any footpath in MCD areas having a width of 9 feet along the roads. It becomes very difficult to identify squatting areas since the court has directed to keep at least 5 feet space on footpaths for pedestrians. Both PWD and DDA have refused to allow us to allocate vending sites in their areas. Meanwhile, while we have identified 2,300 sites till now we received applications from 1.30 lakh vendors, ” said a senior MCD official.
Last year, chief minister Sheila Dikshit had written to mayor Arti Mehra to speed up work on the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors. However, according to MCD officials, removal of encroachments in MCD areas could help provide space for vending sites. Moreover, the civic agency cannot remove the unauthorised vendors as they are protected under the moratorium recently issued by the Union urban development ministry. The Delhi Police has also written to MCD, saying squatting will become a menace in the long run.