Peeved about rehri walas encroaching upon market roads in the town, members of the national consumer awareness group, Muktsar, on Saturday wrote to the district authorities, including the minister of local bodies, Punjab.
Alleging traffic chaos due to the illegal encroachments, they said the malpractice was a routine and was not without the permission of shopkeepers in front of whose shops they stationed their rehris.
"Shopkeepers, in front of whose shops rehri walas station their carts, charge around `100 to `150 a day from them," alleged Sham Lal Goyal, district president of the national consumer awareness group, Muktsar.
He said some shopkeepers even stationed their own rehris outside their shops and hired daily wagers to sell things for them.
"Most of the rehri walas do not possess required licence issued by the local municipal authorities, alleged Sudarshan Sidana, a local resident.
"One can spot empty rehris parked at random places during night without the authorities' permission," Sidana said.
"These roadside vendors even leave rotten fruit and vegetables in the open, which attract stray animals, leading to unhygienic surroundings," alleged Gurinderjeet Singh Brar, another local resident."
He said though main roads were wide enough for smooth traffic movement, the real problem lied at local markets where roads were narrow.
"Evenings are really tough. Due to heavy rush and many rehris parked along the roads here, it becomes very difficult for us to make way," said Darshan Singh, a rickshaw puller who ferried people from Ghah Mandi Chowk on the Jalalabad road.
"These rehri walas are poor people and we do not want to uproot them. They should rather be provided special space by the local municipal corporation so that roads can be freed of such encroachments. Even the town would look better and more hygienic if the corporation takes such a step," said Satish Kumar Girdhar, a shopkeeper on the Jalalabad road.
The district administration is very strict on encroachments. Rehris are not supposed to be stationed at a designated place along roads. Rehri walas walk through roads across the town to sell their stuff. However, if any such violation is being reported, I will look into the matter.
deputy commissioner, Muktsar