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Squatters undoing revamp of Chandni Chowk, says HC

Published on Jan 21, 2022 03:50 AM IST

The bench directed the Delhi Police and North civic body to “personally supervise” the removal of squatters from the market.

The bench said that the photos show the extent of encroachment of public ways and paths by street vendors. (HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

The Delhi high court on Thursday ordered city police and North Delhi Municipal Corporation to remove encroachments from Chandni Chowk, observing that the revamped heritage market is already falling into disrepair.

“It is disheartening to see that the redevelopment activities in the Chandni Chowk area are already falling in disrepair due to rampant encroachment of the area,” a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said while hearing a plea by the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vypapar Mandal.

The bench directed the Delhi Police and North civic body to “personally supervise” the removal of squatters from the market. The Delhi government has revamped the stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri, making it a no-go zone for motorised vehicle, turning it into a pedestrian zone with several public amenities.

The bench said that the photos show the extent of encroachment of public ways and paths by street vendors. “The first photograph is that of the area comprising the bus stand and its surroundings. It is shocking to see that the entire area around the bus stand has been encroached upon and an area inside the bus stand has also met the same fate. The vendors have spread their goods inside the bus stand itself,” the bench observed.

The court directed the SHO of Kotwali police station to personally supervise the removal of unauthorised encroachment. It said the deputy commissioner of the civic body will be responsible for ensuring encroachments are removed without delay.

It also asked authorities to file status reports before the next date of hearing on February 10.

During the proceedings, advocate Mini Pushkarna, who represented the civic body, said steps have been taken to prepare a plan for vendors in accordance with the Street Vendors’ Act.

Pushkarna also said that a sub-committee has been constituted and a physical survey of the streets and areas in Chandni Chowk is underway. The counsel submitted that on account of the ongoing pandemic, work has been hampered and sought three to four months to complete the survey.

The court also asked her to complete the survey at the earliest and file a status report by March 4.

Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, represented through senior advocate Sanjeev Ralli and lawyer Mohit Mudgal, has sought direction from the authorities to remove illegal vendors from the ‘no-hawking and no-squatting area’ in Chandni Chowk.

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