Encroachment drive on at Sadar Bazar ahead of second pedestrian-only trials

Published on Aug 29, 2021 11:28 PM IST

The MCG, while signing up for the Streets4People Challenge in September 2020, had pitched to convert a 600-metre stretch of Sadar Bazar, between Jama Masjid and post office, into a pedestrian-friendly stretch and turn it into a model road for the city

On Friday and Saturday, around 80 street vendors were evicted and 35 illegal ramps demolished in Sadar Bazar.
On Friday and Saturday, around 80 street vendors were evicted and 35 illegal ramps demolished in Sadar Bazar.
By, Gurugram

The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has started a 10-day anti-encroachment drive in Sadar Bazar to pave the way for restarting pedestrian-only trials on the main market road from mid-September, officials said on Sunday.

The move comes after Gurugram was shortlisted among 30 cities selected for the second round of the Streets4People Challenge, organised by the ministry of housing and urban affairs.

MCG officials said that heavy encroachment by street vendors is proving to be a major obstacle for turning the area into a no-vehicle zone and the only way forward is to have “complete control” over it.

“If encroachments and trials occur simultaneously, the entire project is once again doomed to fail. For converting Sadar Bazar streets into pedestrian-friendly stretches, it is vital that all possible encroachments are removed from the area and the scope for such future violations are either completely closed or minimised to the lowest possible extent,” Jitender Garg, joint commissioner, MCG, said.

Garg said that to remove encroachments, the MCG has constituted a special enforcement team comprising eight bouncers, a supervisor, two operators to use earthmovers, and a crane operator for towing vehicles.

“The team will be present in Sadar Bazar around the clock. Earlier, we would carry out encroachments periodically and within a few days, the illegal street vendors would return to the same spot. In the 10-day drive, MCG officials will be revisiting the same spots after a gap of 20 minutes to ensure there is no scope for future encroachments and action against the violators can be taken immediately,” said Garg, adding that teams of MCG officials would continue to inspect and monitor the area even after the drive is completed.

The MCG, while signing up for the event in September 2020, proposed to convert a 600-metre stretch of Sadar Bazar, between Jama Masjid and post office, into a pedestrian-friendly stretch and turn it into a model road for the city.

However, when the MCG had banned vehicles as part of a trial run on March 20 this year, shopkeepers of the market held a protest against the move, with MCG acceding to their demands soon after.

In July, the MCG constituted a seven-member expert committee for drawing up a design to make the stretch pedestrian-friendly, following which the civic body planned to restart the project in August.

Garg said that on Friday and Saturday, the MCG carried out extensive anti-encroachment drives in the presence of a heavy police force, in which 80 street vendors were evicted and 35 illegal ramps were demolished.

“There are three main areas where encroachments are in high presence, at the Sadar Bazar, Bada Bazar, and Gurudwara Road, essentially covering the stretch between Kamla Nehru Park and Naya Bazar. Clearing these spaces will create parking space for accommodating at least 250 four-wheeler vehicles. This will solve the main problem over which the first trial had faced resistance. Once the encroachments are cleared, we are aiming to start the trial from mid-September,” said Garg.

As part of its new design, the MCG is also setting up toilets, carrying out civil work, lighting and other electrical works in the area.

The main contention of shopkeepers during the March trial run was the commute between the parking site and the market would discourage many from visiting the market and lead to a loss in business.

In March, the MCG had set up parking sites at Old Jail Complex, Grover Ground and the ground near Session House, each located 600-800 metres from Sadar Bazar, from where visitors had to either travel on foot to the market or avail of a shuttle service arranged by the MCG.

“We are not against the trial but the timing of it could not be worse. Shopkeepers are still reeling from the effects of Covid-19. Business is at an all-time low, and we fear that such trials will further impact our earnings. The MCG needs to ensure that the shopkeepers are on the same page and that parking spots are located in the vicinity for customers,” said Bablu Gupta, the president of Sadar Bazar Traders’ Association.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kartik Kumar is a correspondent with the Hindustan Times and has covered beats such as crime, transport, health and consumer courts. Kartik currently covers municipal corporation, Delhi Metro and Rapid Metro.

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