AFTER FACING resistance from traders, the UT traffic police have shelved plans to declare busy markets in Chandigarh as car-free zones during the festive season. UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Traffic, Shashank Anand said there has been a stiff resistance from market associations on this. Chandigarh Beopar Mandal President Anil Vohra said the decision of having parking lots as car-free zones was not possible. “It is not practical. Where there is shortage of space to park vehicles, how can we declare them car-free zones,” he argued.
The traders said they have been facing the burden of demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax (GST), cracker ban and on top of that, the administration wanted to impose this decision of car-free zones at sectors 15, 19 and 22. “All our businesses are suffering. We just had this cracker business which again has been crippled due to the court orders. Above all that, the police department wanted to enforce this car-free zone. Already customers have dwindled and do they want to drive away even these few customers,” said a trader on condition of anonymity.
On the other hand, traders have decided to resort to a system of car pooling so that their vehicles do not create chaos at the parking lots. Vohra said their traders in sectors 19, 22 and 17 have decided to go for a car pool. “Instead of traders taking up some of the space at parking lots, we have told them to come in groups in one vehicle itself. Even otherwise, there is no use of keeping their vehicles parked for the whole day in the market as the shopkeepers return at night only,” he explained.
The SSP Traffic said in order to manage the traffic chaos, they have intensified their drive against wrong parking. “Police are trying to impress upon enforcement officials of MCC that they shouldn’t allow encroachment on parking lots. Six more cranes have been hired for the festive season to tow away vehicles,” he told Chandigarh Newsline.
The enforcement department of the Municipal Corporation has also been going to various markets to check whether parking lots have been encroached by vendors. But all in vain. The condition at Sector 22 on Monday was chaotic as vendors came and sat at the parking lots.