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Street vendors thrive in Chandigarh’s Sector 17 as MC fails to enforce UT order

The commercial sector has been declared a no-vending zone.

punjab Updated: Nov 01, 2017 13:21 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Street vendors,Sector 17,Chandigarh
The joint action committee of Sector 17 traders holding a candle march during an hour-long blackout to protest against street vendors at the Plaza in Chandigarh.(Keshav Singh/HT)

Even as the UT administration has declared Sector 17 as a no-vending zone, the municipal corporation, which is the enforcing authority, has failed to stop illegal vendors from operating in the heart of the city.

In fact, the number of street vendors at the Sector-17 Plaza has doubled — from around 150 to 300 — in the past five months.

It was in May last year that the UT started the survey for implementing the Street Vendors’ (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. The central legislation aims at registering and rehabilitating street vendors and also saving them from exploitation at the hands of enforcement officers. It also calls for proper rationing of urban streets and spaces.

The then municipal commissioner, B Purushartha, in his orders stated that illegal vendors will not be challaned until the survey is completed.

In September last year, the survey concluded, but not a single vendor has been challaned in the past 13 months.

Traders up in arms

Meanwhile, traders in the commercial sector are up in arms against the MC’s failure to implement the no-vending zone.

Continuing with their series of protests, the traders on Tuesday observed a complete blackout from 6pm to 7pm and also held a candle march.

Neeraj Bajaj,president of Chandigarh Business Council (CBC), Sector 17, said despite repeated requests to the MC to remove the illegal vendors, no step has been taken yet.

“The vendors have encroached upon the Plaza, leaving little space for the visitors to walk,” he said. “There is utter chaos in the area with the number of street vendors increasing manifold in the past five years. If the civic body does not take any action, we will intensify the protest.”

“Forget about challaning, the enforcement team does not even come to check these vendors,” added CBC general secretary JP Kalra.

‘MC’s duty to clear area’

Gurjot Singh, a senior architect with the Architectural Studio Delhi, which has been assigned the work to revamp Sector 17, said when the area has been declared a no-vending zone, it is the duty of the civic body to clear the area

Requesting anonymity, a senior officer of the UT architect department, too, said the MC should implement the UT’s order.

“After the UT architect department’s decision to declare Sector 17 a no-vending zone, the issue was discussed in the House meeting,” said city mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal. “All councillors were in against the decision, but it is for the UT administration to make the final call.”

Even as the MC issued licenses to vendors in ward 1 (comprising Sectors 1 to 11) in October this year, the UT engineering department has not yet earmarked the space for them yet. It will taken at least two more months.

Also, despite declaring Sectors 17, 19 and 22 as no-vending zones, sites to rehabilitate vendors from these areas have not been finalised. According to sources, it will take at least six months to complete the work. Implementation of the legislation in other wards will also take at least six months.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 13:20 IST