Winter may be at its peak during the Mahakumbh. The stall owners expect to earn a lot during the Mela period. But what about the difficulties that people of the city will face while commuting through this area? I have called it the annual drama of corruption because the anti-encroachment squad never appears on the scene during the peak business period as the authorities concerned presumably bless them unofficially by extracting their pound of flesh from these stall owners for their stay.
This year, in view of the Mahakumbh crowds expected, it might not be a pound of flesh but 10 pounds of it. Normally, the roadside mela of garments goes on merrily and smoothly throughout the winter months. The next phase of the drama will begin when warm weather is about to set in and the sales too will go down drastically. Then administration will wake up to the need for clearing the Kamla Nehru Road of the encroachment by these woolen stalls.
The mock show is carried on for quite a number of days. The stall keepers are presumably warned about it in advance and asked to remove their goods and just keep nominal number which can easily be removed when there is a raid. Finally, when every drop of profit has been squeezed out of the cold-weather sales and the officials come to an unofficial understanding with the pavement traders about the mock drive that may follow, the concluding drama begins.
The anti-encroachment authorities are seen rushing to the spot in a most menacing and threatening mood along with their demolition squad. That is sometime in April when the sun becomes unbearable any way and none goes there for the woolens though they can still be seen in small numbers looking for pants and shirts.
My point is: Why don't they nip the menace in the bud? If they can bring a demolition squad in March and April, why can't they bring one right now, straightaway and forbid the roving traders from establishing themselves as biggest encroachers in the city?
We have a new Commissioner, a new IG, a new DM, a new Nagarayukta, and a new DIG and SSP. They couldn't be knowing about this drama. And the junior staff will never bring all this to their notice because they have a vested interest in allowing the stall owners to stay on and on as that will ensure for them a steady income to keep them warm in these cold months and enjoy extra booze with the tainted money. Therefore, the higher authorities will learn of all this only by and by. Again things will move slowly. The juniors will cook up some excuse to delay the clearance of the footpaths.
Lest this should happen again, I would like to appeal to all the top officials to do right now what they would otherwise do in March and April as by that time any action would seem absurd because with the onset of summer the traders would automatically move away themselves.