The clean-up drive for the Commonwealth Games may now start hitting neighborhood services most Delhiites depend on. With encroachments being seen as a major security risk, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, along with the police, is now evicting roadside vegetable sellers, cobblers, those ironing clothes, panwallahs and illegal vendors selling clothes and eatables etc.
Said MCD commissioner K S Mehra, ‘‘Encroachment removal action is going on everywhere in the city. Action will be initiated against anybody who is encroaching on public place. Except for authorized vendors, all roadside sellers will be removed by MCD.’’
Deep Mathur, MCD press and information director, said the civic agency does not issues licenses to cobblers, local vegetable sellers on pushcarts, and presswallahs (washer man)
Vendors reappear soon after removal: Traders
Many Delhiites have been complaining that it’s becoming tough finding local vegetable sellers or roadside tailors in their residential areas. Said Ratna Singh, a resident of Lajpat Nagar: ‘‘I went to the market on a week day and the vendors selling food and clothes had all been removed. In fact, a tailor whom I had given my clothes for stitching had also been removed from his usual place. While clearing encroachments is important, it inconveniences us. MCD should provide these people with permanent space so they can earn a livelihood.’’
The trader association of Lajpat Nagar, however, claims that the illegal vendors reappear at their usual place of business soon after they are moved. Said secretary Lajpat Nagar traders association D N Rajpal: ‘‘Encroachment removal action was initiated by MCD in the market area a few days back but the illegal vendors have returned. They usually come in the evenings when there is little chance of MCD officials taking action against them.’’
According to MCD officials, while they are taking continuous action to remove encroachments in various areas, it is the responsibility of police as well to ensure that illegal vendors do not return.
Said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat: ‘‘We are giving MCD all possible assistance for removal of encroachments. These have proven to be a security threat. If we come across a specific security threat, we take up the matter with MCD.’’
Said Rajinder Malik, from Defence Colony Traders’ Association: ‘‘Action was recently taken against all shops which had encroached on public land. Pan shops and tailors functioning illegally were also removed.’’ Other market areas where encroachment removal drive was taken up include GK-I Market, East of Kailash, Okhla and Zamrudpur.
Said an MCD official: ‘‘Since cobblers, ‘presswallahs’ and others provide community services, MCD is looking into relocating them elsewhere in the colony.’’