“Respondents are directed to earmark a lane for emergency services so that the fire brigade and ambulance can reach Nehru Place at the earliest without any hindrance/obstruction. DCP (Traffic) will ensure that the said lane is not encroached upon and is always free for movement for fire brigade and ambulance,” a bench of justices Manmohan and Navin Chawla ordered.
The bench also directed Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Police and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to ensure that the recommendations/suggestions given to the court by the fire service are “implemented at the earliest.”
During the hearing, the bench was examining each of the key areas flagged by the fire service after a drill conducted recently at Nehru Place. On the need to make the area hawker-free, SDMC informed the court that despite a specific area being delineated for hawking, the hawkers are spread across the entire complex. SDMC also told the court that only 95 vendors have interim orders in their favour from the Supreme Court and the high court. A majority of hawkers don’t comply with the terms of tehbazari/conditions of vending, the civic body claimed.
“This court directs SDMC, DDA and Delhi Police to ensure that no other individual or entity other than 95 vendors hawks in and around Nehru Place. Even the identities of the 95 vendors shall be verified and the respondents shall ensure that the vendors comply with the terms and conditions of tehbazari/vending,” the bench ordered.
It also decided to list pending cases involving 33 vendors before it along with a few contempt petitions.
The bench ordered advocates appearing for civic agencies, such as DDA, SDMC, Delhi Police, and chief engineer project, additional CP (traffic), additional CP, South-East and deputy commissioner, Central Zone “to visit Nehru Place within the next fortnight at a mutually convenient date and time and file a status report.”
The court also asked Delhi Jal Board to file a status report within two weeks.
TOI had reported on Thursday how a mock fire drill revealed that Nehru place is a veritable fire zone and emergency vehicles do not have access to the inner courts of the sprawling commercial complex.
In its report sent to the high court and DDA, the fire service said hundreds of shopkeepers, vendors and big businesses were at deadly risk because even rescue vehicles were able to access only the outer portions of the market. The fire service recommended urgent measures like a ban on roadside parking and freeing the market of hawkers. It also suggested a ramp for emergency vehicles.