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Poor can’t afford restaurants,frame policy for vendors: HC

Court directs DDA,MCD,NDMC,Traffic Police chiefs to frame policy within two months.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: February 4, 2012 2:26:29 am

Emphasising on the need for chef carts and mobile catering vans to provide ready-to-eat food to a large chunk of the floating population in the city,the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered the government and civic bodies to frame a policy for No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to vendors.

“Not everyone is rich enough to go to upmarket restaurants. One must consider the moving population of Delhi. Where do they go when they want to eat hygienic food at an economic al rate? Delhi is also known for its street food. Chef carts or catering vans are not an extraordinary sight,” said Justice Hima Kohli.

Unhappy that the multiple agencies involved in providing NOCs did not work in tandem and had a policy “exclusively known to them only,” the court asked the DDA Vice-Chairman,MCD Commissioner,NDMC Chairperson and Traffic Police Joint Commissioner to hold a meeting and come up with an unambiguous policy within two months.

The court was adjudicating a bunch of petitions by catering van owners complaining about the “arbitrary and unjust” manner in which they were evicted from Dwarka. The petitioners said they were legally carrying out their trade but were evicted by the police,citing traffic congestion.

The court asked the MCD Commissioner to review its policy whereby it had stopped issuing fresh licenses to catering vans and carts since 2008. “Can people eat only at a dhaba or a restaurant? This court thinks that chef carts and vans are required. That is why you (MCD) should review its policy,” said Justice Kohli.

“There are at least four agencies that a citizen has to deal with when he applies for an NOC. All these agencies have policies of their own. All these agencies should decide on a comprehensive policy and the same should be given due publicity,” said the court.

The court also took into account the suggestions given by Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg,who was called in to explain the role of Traffic Police in issuing NOCs to chef carts and vans. Garg apprised the court that the police did not directly entertain any NOC application and it had to be routed through the MCD. He also suggested that traffic and security issues be considered before issuing an NOC for a van.

Voicing its disappointment over the policy that the agencies had for the informal trading sector,Justice Kohli said the court was not bound to deal with “administrative” issues arising out of “lethargy” and “ambiguity” of the agencies.

The court also asked the petitioners to choose their preferred locations from the list of available sites so that their requests could be processed expeditiously.

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