The cool factor has gone missing from Rajpath and around India Gate from Thursday.
Following police chief Y S Dadwals strict instructions,his men shooed away ice-cream carts and other vendors from the iconic boulevard in order to preserve and maintain the sanctity of Rajpath.
Dadwal had had a strict word with the Tilak Marg police on Wednesday when he noticed ice-cream vendors and balloon sellers jostling on Rajpath. He was miffed that his earlier instruction,that Rajpath be kept free of vendors,had not been obeyed,police sources said.
On Thursday,the force went on an overdrive. Sanjay Kumar who sells pakodas on a pavement near India Gate told Newsline that constables had dismantled stalls and hurled their wares on the pavement on Wednesday evening.
They even beat up a couple of vendors who were slow to move their stalls, Kumar said. From Badaun in eastern Uttar Pradesh,Kumar has done business at the India Gate for the last 15 years. We arent educated. With hard work,we can make ends meet. Even that opportunity is being taken away from us.
Most vendors said they had been asked to move away from the pavements around India Gate. They also complained of harassment by the police.
Rajpath did not have ice-cream vendors on Thursday. A statement issued by the police commissioners office read: It is essential that no vendor be allowed on the road. The ice-cream vendors are allowed to park and sell their wares only on the crossroads and around the Childrens Park. But vendors often come to Rajpath without permission.
The statement added that regular instructions are issued to the local police to keep Rajpath free of vendors and the police commissioners reaction was simply a reiteration of the instructions in this matter.
The top cops directions have,however,displaced many who considered Rajpath their second home,and who were the first choice of revellers,much before fancy malls and ice-cream parlours came up.
Ajay Yadav has sold ice lollies at Rajpath for more than 10 years. He was distraught. We effectively earn only for the six months of summer. Now we shall earn even less.
In the evening,Newsline found Patel Nagar resident Rahul Sharma and his friends near India Gate. We came since the weather is good and find it shocking that theres an order by the police to remove the vendors.