Forced eviction of street vendors from December 5, Chandigarh admn tells HC
UT senior standing counsel Pankaj Jain informed court that relocation notices issued to vendors in Sectors 1-6 and Sector 17 Plaza will expire on December 4, after which coercive action will beginUpdated: Nov 20, 2019, 00:57 IST
The Chandigarh administration told the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday that registered vendors operating in the tony sectors 1-6 and commercial hub of Sector 17 will have to vacate their current spaces by December 5, following which they will face forced eviction.
UT senior standing counsel Pankaj Jain informed court that relocation notices slapped on these vendors (to move to their designated sites elsewhere) will expire on December 4, after which coercive action will begin. Only those identified as essential service providers, such as washermen and cobblers, can stay put after that, Jain said.
The submissions were made before the bench of chief justice RS Jha and justice Rajiv Sharma, which was hearing a bunch of petitions on the issue of illegal vending in the city and relocation of vendors to 44 vending zones under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.
There were 22,000 vendors in the city, according to initial surveys, out of which 9,356 were found eligible and registered. Of these, 2,800 were mobile vendors and 6,685 who are to be accommodated in 5,034 sites in 44 vending zones. In the first phase, 3,250 vendors are to be relocated from Sector 17 and first six sectors.
NO RELIEF FOR SEC-15 RESIDENTS
Sector 15 alone has to accommodate 1,800 vendors, and residents are up in arms against the move.
The counsels for Residents Welfare Association, Sector 15, and DAV Model School, Sector 15, failed to obtain a stay on shifting of vendors to the designated zone identified by the MC in Sector 15 despite rounds of arguments. The court later asked the MC to look into the demands afresh.
Earlier, RWA and school counsels had told court that the proposed site will spell chaos in the sector and create law and order problem as the site is next to a school with 1,300 students and a hostel. They told court that there was already a vending zone and books market in the sector, besides a dhobi ghat, and the sector will lose its lone green space with shifting of vendors to this site.
However, court observed that it was for the administration to decide what is best.
On the demand that vendors be shifted to southern sectors instead, court said: “If we permit this, we will have different sectors (RWAs) fighting before us.”
The UT, on its part, said all issues have been dealt with by the town vending committee, after which the number of vendors in Sector 15 was reduced by 150 to make space for parking. The Chandigarh administration also assured the court that it would look afresh into various objections to the relocation exercise. The court did not issue any directions in view of the fact that some vendors have moved the Supreme Court against the HC order of October 17, in which four weeks were given to the UT to relocate the registered vendors from identified non-vending zones. The petition is likely to be taken up later this week.
MC FACES COURT’S IRE
The MC faced court’s ire with senior advocate Puneet Bali submitting that non-registered vendors are still operating in the city, including in Sector 17, despite court orders of October 17. “We will send you along with others to do a survey (to ascertain position on ground),” the division bench categorically told UT’s senior standing counsel as many lawyers agreed with Bali’s submissions.
Jain kept on stressing that unregistered vendors have been removed and submitted that 415 vendors were challaned since the October 17 orders. However, the court was not satisfied as the MC could not produce how much challan amount was realised, and if a vendor was challaned, what was done to ensure that he did not come back.
Now, the matter has been posted for hearing on December 19, when the MC is to submit compliance report on relocation and action against illegal vendors.
A LOOK AT NUMBERS
9,356: Registered vendors
5,034: Vendors to be moved to 44 vending zones
3,250: Vendors to be relocated by December 5
1,663: Allotment letters collected from public window
1,149: Allotment letters distributed by MC inspectors
200: Vendors who accepted letters after much persuasion
114: Vendors who refused to receive letters (67 in Sector 17 alone)