HT Special | Reviving Chandigarh Sector 17: Where vendors rule | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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HT Special | Reviving Chandigarh Sector 17: Where vendors rule

Even as traders blame vendors for spoiling the vibe of Sector 17, the Municipal Corporation is yet to implement Street Vendor’s Act 2014, which aims to rehabilitate vendors at various designated spots.

punjab Updated: Mar 01, 2017 14:23 IST
Hillary Victor
FREE FOR ALL: Vendors selling a variety of knick-knacks at Sector 17 plaza, no-vending zone, in Chandigarh.
FREE FOR ALL: Vendors selling a variety of knick-knacks at Sector 17 plaza, no-vending zone, in Chandigarh.(Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

Even as traders blame vendors for spoiling the vibe of Sector 17, the Municipal Corporation is yet to implement Street Vendor’s Act 2014, which aims to rehabilitate vendors at various designated spots.

Though declared a no-vending zone, the plaza sees more than 200 vendors on the weekends. Even the corridors get swamped with hawkers, making it impossible for people to walk unhindered for a stretch.

Vendors, however, claim they have been peddling their wares here for the past 50 years, and MC is yet to earmark a place for them. They complain that ever since the MC started a survey of vendors, many new ones have come to the city, especially Sector 17, thus compounding the chaos. They wonder why the MC is not issuing them vending licences even though it’s been five months since it completed the survey.

MC SOFT ON ENCROACHERS

In May last year, MC commissioner B Purusharta had said vendors will be challaned only once the survey is completed. But even though the survey was completed in September last year, not a single challan has been issued in the last five months. Officials, however, claim they are issuing seven challans to new vendors every day.

But the vendors pay the challan, ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1500, and are back in business the very next day. The situation is going from bad to worse despite the presence of three enforcement inspectors in Sector 17.

MC officials claim they have no teeth to end to this practice. “We can only challan violators, we cannot register a case. Once they pay the challan, they return to peddling their wares. The UT administration and police too must pitch in to check the menace,” they add.

A hawker selling cushions at the plaza in Sector 17. (Karun Sharma/HT Photo)
Facts
  • Fix the number of vendors in Sector 17
  • Don’t allow any vendors in the plaza
  • Instead, host weekly markets like in the West
  • Impose a higher licence fee in Sector 17 as compared to other sectors. Conduct police verification
  • Don’t allow vendors sell cut fruits

STREET VENDORS ACT YET TO BE IMPLEMENTED

Haryana Nav Yuvak Kala Sangam mapped 21, 622 street vendors in the city following a survey conducted in September last year. This project to survey and register street vendors was started in July last year under Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014.

However, the authorities are yet to earmark the vending zones though it was decided to start a pilot project from Ward 17 (Sector 18, 19 and 21).

The law aims to register and rehabilitate street vendors so that they are not exploited. It also calls for proper rationing of urban streets and spaces.

ON TYPEWRITERS & MISSING CUSTOMERS

One of the first shops to come up on Sector 17 was that of Remington typewriters.. but over time, it lost its clientele and was closed down in the ‘1990s. Subhash Gulati, the owner of Empire Stores, says when his father came from Nangal to set up shop here in 1964, very few people used to visit the Sector. “We used to spend the day waiting for customers and never got more than five to six a day, “Gulati recalls.

(FOURTH OF SEVEN-PART SERIES, TOMORROW:VENDORS’ WOES)