MC officials to face action for failure to act on squatters in MohaliUpdated: Sep 26, 2019 00:42 IST
For the first time, the Mohali municipal corporation has divided the city into three zones to tackle with encroachments in markets.
MC commissioner Bhupinder Pal Singh in the orders issued on Wednesday stated that officers heading the teams will be responsible for encroachments in their respective areas, failing which they can be chargesheeted or suspended (see box).
Even as the MC General House has discussed the issue of encroachments in markets several times, the civic body has failed to curb it. Illegal vendors continue to operate in main markets of the city, the worst-hit areas being Phases 3B1, 3B2, 7, 9, 10, and 11. Even traders have encroached upon spaces, such as corridors, to display their products.
In fact, the MC enforcement wing has only two vehicles, a truck and SUV, to cover the entire city.
“We are hopeful that with the help of three teams, we will be able to tackle encroachments in the city,” said the MC chief. On being asked as to how the three teams will work with just two vehicles, he said only one team will conduct checking at a given time.
“The officers heading the teams will be responsible for encroachments in their respective areas,” he said.
Under the Street Vendor’s Act, there are 993 vendors in the city. However, the number of those actually operating in the markets is close to 2,000. They can be seen selling a variety of products, including apparels, footwear, jewellery and eatables, in market corridors and parking areas. In some markets, there is no space to even walk in the corridors.
Councillor Gurmeet Singh Walia, who is also the president, market welfare association, Phase 10, said the number of vendors has gone up in the past three years. Anti-encroachment drives remain an eyewash because of the collusion between enforcement staff and vendors, he said.
An enforcement official said in absence of a police team accompanying them it is difficult to remove violations, because of the stiff opposition put up by vendors and shopkeepers.
Encroachments in residential areas remain a cause of concern too. Even though the civic body issued 4,200 notices to encroachers, including retired and serving bureaucrats and police officials, in residential areas in 2018, no action has been taken so far.