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Chowrasta to become no-vending zone

Chowrasta to become no-vending zone
Darjeeling, Oct. 30: The Darjeeling municipality has decided to make the town’s main promenade Chowrasta a “no-vending zone” on the request of morning walkers.

By “no-vending zone”, the municipality means other than 12 temporary hawkers’ stalls on Mall Road, no other shop would be allowed to be set up on Chowrasta.

Most of the shops are concentrated on Mall Road, which the municipality plans to remove. Nehru Road, a path to Chowrasta, would also be part of the no-vending zone, as will be the road leading to Hotel Alice Villa.

Civic chairman Amar Singh Rai said no vendors, other than the 12 allotted temporary space on Mall Road would be allowed in the area.

The municipality is yet to pass a resolution on this.

Chowrasta has seen a steady rise of hawkers in the past year. Around 40 vendors have stalls on the stretch leading to the Mahakal temple on Mall Road.

This morning, the Darjeeling Environment Conservation Awareness Programme, popularly known as the Morning Health Club, submitted a memorandum to Rai.

Many senior citizens are members of the club.

Tshering Dorjee, the president of the Darjeeling Environment Conservation Awareness Programme, wrote: “Mall and Chowrasta has always been a favourite spot both for tourists as well as locals, where people of all ages come to stroll and relax. But… hawkers stalls along the stretch leading towards Chowrasta makes (the roads) very narrow and inconvenient for commuters.”

Last year, vendors had been removed from Nehru Road and given space along the road that leads to Hotel Alice Villa.

Twelve hawkers could not be accommodated and were allotted space along the Mall Road.

This afternoon, Rai said: “We have heard the grievances of the Morning Health Club. It is true that only 12 hawkers who could not be accommodated along the road that leads to Hotel Alice Villa were allowed to put up stalls on the Mall Road.”

He said the municipality had “started conducting a survey from today”.

He added: “We will not allow any other vendor (except the 12) to put up stalls in the area. The municipality will soon adopt a resolution in the board meeting making Chowrasta a no-vending zone.”

Earlier this year, the Morning Health Club had opposed the construction of a hawkers’ market at Chowrasta.

The members have also opposed illegal construction in the Mall area. “We are aware that the municipality had allowed only 12 hawkers to put up stalls in the area purely on temporary basis. But over the months, the number of hawkers has multiplied at an alarming rate. We request the municipality to declare the area as a no-construction, no vending zone as well as free from advertising hoarding and flexes,” Dorjee said.

Source: TT

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