Despite carrying out around 100 special drives every year, the Chandigarh municipal (MC) has failed to make the city encroachment free. Reason: Lack of strict enforcement of antiencroachment rules.
Official records reveal that the MC issued 931 challans in December last year, but only 300 violators turned up to pay the fine and get their seized articles back. The MC managed to collect only Rs 4 lakh penalty against the expected Rs12 lakh.
It is learnt that most of the enforcement inspectors allegedly seize junk and rag to facilitate encroachers and show their progress by issuing challans. Official records reveal that around 400 articles, including “rehris”, vehicles and garments, which were seized by the MC teams, have not been deposited in the enforcement store since November last year. Storekeeper of the enforcement store has written to the MC joint commissioner to take action against the errant inspectors. Most of the enforcement inspectors issue seizure memos to violators and to facilitate them, do not take away their articles, it is learnt.
Every year, the MC claims to collect over Rs 3 crore fine during anti-encroachment drives. However, the amount includes auction money of unreleased material and collection during the festive season.
MC commissioner B Purushartha has sought explanation from the inspectors in this regard. “I will look into the matter on Monday.”
Meanwhile, encroachers continue to thrive in markets of Sectors 15, 19, 22, 27, 28 and Manimajra, and even in the heart of the city, Sector 17. The corridors in Sectors 17 and 22 are encroached upon by roadside vendors, leaving no space for people to walk.
Not wanted to be named, a senior official of the MC enforcement department said: “Vendors pay between Rs 50 to `100 depending on their wares, especially on Sunday, to MC officials so they are not challaned. The showroom owners also charge Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 from illegal vendors on a monthly basis.”
President of the Traders’ Welfare Association, Sector 22B, Arvinder Singh said: “Encroachments are a major problem in the city, especially in market corridors. If the MC and police want to make city encroachment free, they should act tough against violators.”