Those visiting Connaught Place as well as traders in the capital’s shopping epicenter have to deal with a new problem – encroachment by scores of street shop vendors.
Visitors with vehicles wanting to enter NDMC’s underground parking in Palika Bazaar face a daily battle because of the heavy encroachment by ‘tehbazaaris’, which often causes traffic jams on the road.
Most part of the road is occupied by vehicles lining up for the Palika parking which creates a bottleneck in the inner circle of CP leading to jams.
According to New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) records, there are 946 ‘tehbazaari’ vendors and 150 hawkers registered with them.
Traders, however, allege that there are around 500 more street vendors encroaching in the areas and the civic-body has not taken any action against them despite complaints.
“You move towards Palika Bazaar and you will find there are more tehbazaari vendors and hawkers than there are shops inside the market. Half of them do not even have licence to sit there and do business. We have raised the complaints so many times but NDMC hasn’t paid any attention,” said Vinod Gulati, former President Palika Bazaar Traders’ Association.
“Despite holding several meetings with the top NDMC officials, the agency has shown complete indifference to our plight, which has cost the market more than 40 per cent of its business since the tehbazaaris first came up,” Arjun Malik, a trader at the underground Palika Bazaar, said.
Echoing his views Atul Bhargava, President, New Delhi Market Association alleged, “these vendors can’t be illegally squatting here without any assistance from NDMC. They are definitely paying bribe to stay intact there that is why no action has been taken against them.”
NDMC authorities, however, denied the allegations of taking any bribe and said to check illegal squatting they are in process of issuing smart cards to identify the licenced tehbazaari vendors.
“It is not that we are not trying to resolve the encroachment problem. We are planning to issue smart cards to the licensed vendors so that their identification is streamlined during the encroachment drives,” said Neeraj Bharti, Director of NDMC’s Enforcement Department.