Shoppers visiting Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Khari Baoli and passengers heading for the Old Delhi Railway Station can look forward to a hassle free ride in these areas.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has finally completed the exercise of identifying hawking/non-hawking and squatting/non-squatting zones to rid the capital of unauthorised hawkers, vendors and squatters before the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
It has identified 24 major stretches in different parts of the city where no hawkers/ vendors would be allowed to squat on the roadsides to sell their wares.
The massive exercise has been carried out on the orders of the Supreme Court, which had earlier asked the civic body to complete it by December 26 last or else, face contempt proceedings. The court is seized of a PIL on the issue.
Both carriageways of the main Chandni Chowk road from Lal Jain Mandir to Fatehpuri have been declared as non-squatting zones. The Chandni Chowk traders, who had been losing out on business due to presence of large number of squatters in front of their authorised shops, have been fighting a losing battle with the MCD on the issue since long. In spite of orders from the Supreme Court to remove all squatters from Chandni Chowk who add to the congestion in the area, the MCD has done little in this regard.
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg in front of Old Delhi Railway (except Kouria bridge and Old Punjab Bus Stand in Fatehpuri) too has been added in the list of non-squatting areas.
The other major non-squatting roads include Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Mathura Road, Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg, Minto Road, Indraprastha Marg, Raj Ghat road, Asaf Ali Road (from Turkman Gate to Delhi Gate), Qutub Road, Main Sadar Bazar Road, Khari Baoli Road, Idgah Road, Ranjeet Singh Marg, Netaji Subhash Marg and Esplanade Road among others.
As per the MCD affidavit, 16 areas have been identified that have been designated as hawking zones - the major stretches include the area near Nizamuddin Railway Station, Nizamuddin West, New Darya Ganj and Sarai Kale Khan village among others.
Besides, the MCD has also submitted a detailed list of squatting areas in each of the 12 zones. In South Zone, for example, squatting has been allowed near Hauz Khas market, near Deer Park SDA market, near Uphaar Cinema in Green Park, Gautam Nagar Road along AIIMS boundary wall etc.
No hawking or squatting activity has been disallowed in all approved commercial areas, VIP roads and main roads. Hawking activity, however, has been allowed in all residential colonies and industrial areas falling under the jurisdiction of a particular zone.
The court has already asked all the interested parties, including hawkers', traders' and resident welfare associations and Delhi Police to file their objections, if any, to the MCD affidavit by January 15 and fixed February six for further hearing. After the court's approval, the scheme could become operational in a few months time.
Hawkers Welfare Committee counsel MM Kashyap welcomed the move terming it as a step in the right direction. MCD counsel Sanjiv Sen said the problem of unauthorised hawking and squatting in Delhi will come to an end once the court approves the scheme and passes final order in the matter.
The MCD, however, clarified that the hawking/non-hawking, squatting/non-squatting areas mentioned in its list ought to be subject certain unforeseen circumstances, including security considerations and dynamic requirements of the society.
The whole exercise has been done to implement the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2004 according to which the maximum number of authorised hawkers/ squatters can not exceed 2.5 per cent of the total population.