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SC blasts MCD on hawker plan

The schemes seeking a ban on roadside cooking, except serving tea and coffee, is expected to help make Delhi a clean city before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, reports Satya Prakash.
Hindustan Times | By Satya Prakash, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2008 01:49 AM IST

Ten months after the Supreme Court approved schemes offering a roadmap for regulating streetside hawking and vending in the Capital, they are still to be implemented.

The schemes, prepared by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the New Delhi Municipal Council, seeking a ban on roadside cooking, except serving tea and coffee, is expected to help make Delhi a clean city before the 2010 Commonwealth Games and provide better facilities to both hawkers and the citizens.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday blasted the MCD for not filing a status report as directed by it in January and threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against its officials.

A bench headed by Justice SB Sinha summoned MCD Additional Commissioner (Revenue) P.S. Tomar and asked him to explain the reasons for the civic agency’s failure to file the report detailing the progress made in the implementation of the scheme.

Tomar told the court the report could not be submitted because details from two of the MCD zones were yet to be received and compiled and sought two weeks to complete the exercise.

The NDMC, which has filed its response, told the court that three vending committees had started functioning.

However, it said the process of identifying vending areas and squatting sites and formulation of eligibility criteria could not be completed as the representatives of Hawkers’ Associations insisted that a judicial officer not below the rank of additional district judge must head the zonal vending committees.

This was necessary to ensure transparency in identification of vending and squatting sites, formulating eligibility criteria and allotment of sites to the eligible vendors while taking care of the security, sensitivity and heritage character of the NDMC area.

On behalf of the NDMC, senior advocate Rakesh Khanna sought the court’s permission to appoint a serving or retired ADJs as Chairmen of the Vending Committees. The MCD is yet to file its progress report. But Hawkers’ Welfare Committee counsel M.M. Kashyap pointed out that this point was already there in the court’s Mar 17, 2007 order.

The bench asked Khanna and MCD counsel Sanjiv Sen to prepare within four weeks separate charts detailing the problems faced by the two agencies in implementing the scheme along with suggestions to solve them.

Hawkers’ opposition

The hawkers’ associations complained to the court that those already having valid licences for hawking, were also being asked by the MCD to apply afresh which went against the Supreme Court’s earlier orders.

Policy on street vendors

The new schemes have been framed under the National Policy for Urban Street Vendors 2004, which envisages giving legal status to vendors and providing legitimate hawking zones in urban development plans.

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