If the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) latest scheme to regulate the presence of hawkers and squatters in the Capital finds favour with the Supreme Court, markets like Chandni Chowk and Sadar Bazar may soon become free of both. But squatters will remain in areas like Karol Bagh and New Rajinder Nagar.
The MCD has finally completed the exercise of demarcating hawking/non-hawking and squatting/non-squatting zones to impose some order on hawkers, vendors and squatters before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The exercise has been carried out on the direction of the Supreme Court, in response to a public-interest petition. The court had earlier asked the MCD to complete the process by December 26, 2006 or face contempt proceedings.
The MCD has now filed an affidavit before the court pinpointing 24 major stretches where no hawkers or squatters will be allowed. Both the carriageways of the main Chandni Chowk road — from Lal Jain Mandir to Fatehpuri — have been declared non-squatting zones. Chandni Chowk traders, who had been losing out on business due to the presence of a large number of squatters in front of their authorised shops, have reason to be satisfied. They had been fighting a losing battle with the MCD to get the squatters removed for a long time.
In spite of orders from the Supreme Court to remove squatters from Chandni Chowk, the MCD has done little.
The affidavit says 16 areas have been designated 'hawking zones' – among them, the area near Nizamuddin Railway Station, Nizamuddin West, New Darya Ganj and Sarai Kale Khan village.
The MCD has also submitted a detailed list of areas in each of the city's 12 zones where squatting would be permitted. In the South Zone, for example, squatting has been allowed near the Hauz Khas market, the Deer Park SDA market, Uphaar Cinema at Green Park and Gautam Nagar Road along the AIIMS boundary wall.
No hawking or squatting has been allowed in any approved commercial area, VIP road or main road. But hawking has been permitted in all residential colonies and industrial areas.
The court has already asked all the concerned parties -- including hawkers’, traders’ and residents' welfare associations, and the Delhi Police -- to file their objections, if any, to the MCD affidavit by January 15, and fixed February 6 for further hearing.
MM Kashyap, counsel for the Hawkers' Welfare Committee, welcomed the move. MCD counsel Sanjiv Sen said the problem of unauthorised hawking and squatting in Delhi would end once the court approved the scheme and passed its final order.