Developed by the improvement trust, 22 Acre Market has been left at the mercy of street vendors, vegetable sellers and taxi owners who have encroached upon footpaths and parking areas, thus blocking the flow of traffic. The market has become a haven for anti-social elements.
Considered to be the first planned and successful commercial market of improvement trust, it is situated in Sewa Singh Thikriwala Nagar, also known as 22 Acre colony. Despite having its office in this market, the improvement trust has been a mute spectator to the encroachments.
Massive encroachments in the market result in frequent traffic jams, besides high levels of smoke and noise pollution. Though the market has ample parking space and spacious footpaths, but they have been encroached by makeshift stalls and pullcarts.
The market is full of hustle-bustle from dawn to dusk. In early morning, masons and labourers assemble here with their construction equipment. Then vegetable vendors, fruit sellers throng the market.
Different taxi unions, Chota Haathi union (Tata ACE small truck) and 3-wheeler tempo union make ample use of parking space, whereas visitors to the market are forced to park their vehicles on main road. The market also lacks a public toilet. People also can be seen drinking in their cars.
Rajiv Barnala, a resident, said, "Improvement trust or police have no check on encroachments and unscrupulous elements. My bicycle, a gas cylinder and a monoblock pump was stolen in three different incidents. A few days back, a miscreant injured my wife in a bid to snatch her purse. Women are not safe here."
A parking lot, meant for shopkeepers and their customers, is being used exclusively by Solitaire hotel. The hotel is situated outside the market, but has its entrance from the parking area of market. Some shopkeepers have encroached upon the space outside their shops.
EO of improvement trust, Sangrur, Neeru Bala, who has the additional charge of improvement trust, Barnala, said she was not aware of the problem as she rarely find time to visit Barnala.
If improvement trust cannot get encroachments removed from the market where it has its office, the situation in other markets can be imagined.
Ram Lal Badra, activist
Recently, a man entered my shop, snatched a mobile and when I resisted, he attacked me with a knife. Encroachments should be removed.
Rajinder Goyal Kuku, shokeeper