Chandigarh MC drags feet on policy for regulating street vendors
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Chandigarh MC drags feet on policy for regulating street vendors

A total of 6,500 registered vendors of non-essential commodities will be accommodated at vending zones in different areas, while 900 mobile vendors will be restricted to roads other than highways.

punjab Updated: Sep 27, 2018 11:54 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh MC,Chandigarh,street vendors
Sector 17, the heartbeat of the city, has been run over by vendors in the last decade. MC estimates put the number of illegal vendors in Sector 17 at over 500.(HT Photo )

Here is some good news: Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has completed the legal process to rehabilitate and regulate city’s street vendors. It also has the list of 9,200 registered vendors who have been given a licence to operate in the city. All they need is a customary notification that will take another month. And a strong will to push the process forward in the election year.

The rules are clear. Of the 9,200 vendors, 1,900 dealing with essential commodities will stay at their existing place of vending due to the nature of their services.

A total of 6,500 registered vendors of non-essential commodities will be accommodated at vending zones in different areas, while 900 mobile vendors will be restricted to roads other than highways.

After this exercise is over, all illegal or unregistered vendors, considerable in number as per the MC enforcement staff, will be shunted out with heavy penalty and seizure of goods.

But if you think you will soon see a change on ground, you are mistaken.

MC drags feet

For one, MC is still struggling to set up vending zones to accommodate licensed vendors. It was in 2016 that MC opened registration for vendors under street vending act. By early 2017, it had the exact number of legal vendors. Then with the help of architect department, it identified 44 vending zones to accommodate them.

But almost 15 months later, MC is yet to allot them space. Reason: its inability to carve out a space acceptable to vendors. First, it finalised a 5 foot-by-3 foot slot but vendors turned it down, saying they could barely sit there, leave alone conduct business. Congress leaders even shared pictures of an obese man trying to squeeze himself in the allotted space.

Finally in April last year, MC agreed to give them a larger area of six feet by five feet. The matter went back to the architect department, which took its own time to approve it.

Poor political will

Now when conflict on space allotment is over and MC has begun redrawing vending zones, the matter is held up due to traders who don’t want licensed vendors outside their shops. Last week, shopkeepers protested against setting up vending zones in the markets of Sector 19, 22 and 32. These zones are open sky spaces along the pedestrian pathway.

Chandigarh Beopar Mandal president Anil Vohra said, “We will not allow vendors to sit in front of showrooms and booths. They will not only affect our business but lead to traffic chaos.”

Beopar Mandal chairman Charanjiv Singh, also a nominated councillor, said traders will launch a stir if the MC goes ahead with their plan. “We are not against the rehabilitation of vendors. But they should be adjusted in the space adjoining markets and not at the cost of the traders’ business,” he said.

Last week, their lobby led MC to defer an agenda meant to increase penalty on shopkeepers for encroaching upon corridors.

While joint Commissioner Tejdeep Singh Saini, who heads the street vending wing, said they are looking into traders’ concerns, an official called their stand ‘inhumane’.

He said there is no competition between vendors and shopkeepers, and their presence will not interfere with traffic.“If the MC shifts vending zones away from market, vendors will object. Then we can forget about streamlining vending in the city. We need a strong political and administrative will,” he said

Mayor Davesh Moudgil, when contacted, said MC will resolve the matter amicably.

Enforcement helpless

The present stalemate has rendered the enforcement team helpless.

“We’ve been prohibited from taking action against illegal vendors till the time MC does not accommodate licensed vendors. They should expedite the process,” said a member of enforcement team. He said they challan vendors but release their goods after taking a fine of 1000. Under new rules, they can seize their goods and impose a fine of 10,000.

No vending in Sector 17

While illegal vending prevails across the city, Sectors 17, 22 and 19 are the worst afflicted. Rough estimates put the number of illegal vendors in Sector 17 at over 500, followed by 1000 vendors in Sector 22 and 500 in Sector 19. Sector 17 will now be declared a no-vending zone, which means only essential vending will be allowed here. Sectors 22 and 19 will have 150 vendors each. An MC official said licensed vendors in these sectors will be accommodated in Sector 15.

Vendor Wise

*Essential service vendors: Cobblers, milk/bread/egg sellers, tea-sellers, cycle/rickshaw repairers, dhobis and barbers. They will be allowed to continue vending from their existing place while complying with rules.

*Mobile vendors: Fruit and vegetable sellers. They will be allowed only on V-4 (roads that provide access to sector markets), V-5 (roads that lead towards houses), V-6 (roads that reach the doorstep) and V-7 (feeds the green belt, pedestrian roads) in Chandigarh. Vending is prohibited on city’s all big Margs and highways.

*Non-essential vendors: Vending non-essential goods, ware, food items or merchandise. They will be allowed only in the MC-authorised vending zones across 44 sites.

No vending in Sector 17

While illegal vending prevails across the city, Sectors 17, 22 and 19 are the worst afflicted. Rough estimates put the number of illegal vendors in Sector 17 at over 500, followed by 1000 vendors in Sector 22 and 500 in Sector 19. Sector 17 will now be declared a no-vending zone, which means only essential vending will be allowed here. Sectors 22 and 19 will have 150 vendors each. An MC official said licensed vendors in these sectors will be accommodated in Sector 15.

Rs 10,000 fine for illegal vending

As per the bylaws to be notified soon, illegal vendors will be challaned a sum of 10,000 and their seized goods will not be returned. The penalty on registered venders will vary between 1000 and 3000 followed by cancelation of vending for three months for violating any rules.

Vendors will do business at their allotted space, dispose garbage in segregated manner, clear goods after vending hours, display vending registration certificate and ID card all the time. Besides they are not allowed to use loud speakers, or construct any permanent or temporary structure on the allotted space. No vending will be allowed around 50 metres of government buildings.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 11:54 IST