Amritsar: Setting up street vending zones a distant dream

Regarded as a solution to traffic jams, the scheme to set up rehri markets has been put on the back burner

Amritsar: Setting up street vending zones a distant dream

Under a flyover at Islamabad area

Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, June 28

Once regarded a solution to solve traffic congestion on city roads, the need to set up street vending zones (rehri markets) has been forgotten, it seems. Blame it on political and financial compulsion that compelled the civic authorities to put the scheme on the back burner.

About the scheme

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs had launched PM Street Vendor's Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme to empower street vendors by not only extending loans to them, but also for their holistic development and economic uplift. The scheme intends to facilitate collateral free working capital loans of up to Rs 10,000 of one-year tenure, to approximately 50 lakh street vendors, to help resume their businesses in urban areas, including surrounding peri-urban/rural areas. Following the Centre's scheme, a survey was carried out to identify vendors. Their number was found to be 15,000 in 2016 in the city. Half of them were static vendors and the remaining half were mobile.

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs had launched PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme to empower street vendors by not only extending loans to them, but also for their holistic development and economic uplift. The scheme intends to facilitate collateral free working capital loans of up to Rs 10,000 of one-year tenure, to approximately 50 lakh street vendors, to help resume their businesses in urban areas, including surrounding peri-urban/rural areas. Following the Centre’s scheme, a survey was carried out to identify vendors. Their number was found to be 15,000 in 2016. Half of them were static vendors and the remaining half were mobile.

Outside amritsar bus stand.

To decongest continuous increasing rush of vehicles on roads in the city, setting up rehri markets (street vending zones) could be a long time solution. Over 30 vending zones were earmarked, but they remained only on paper. Notably, as a result of fast-paced urbanisation, more such markets would be required. Sources said one of the prime reasons for not establishing vending zones was that the civic authority did not have enough funds to invest.

Sachin, a vendor, said his family has been earning livelihood through a cart situated outside Lohgarh Gate for the past three decades. Any attempt to shift its location would cause a loss to their business. “We prepare chhole, salad and aachaar at home and bring it to the vend, where we dish out puri and bhatture in front of customers.” The father-son duo run the vend and have also employed a helper. They know a majority of customers by face. His father Harbans Lal said the quantity of their material and profit was fixed. Any imbalance would upset the routine and they would not be able to foot the fixed expenditure.

Ishita, a youngster, said: “To grab the attention of commuters to sell their merchandise, vendors look for a vantage point on the road. Soon their competitors join in and together they often transform the space into a traffic bottleneck.” This was evident from rehri markets that sprang up different areas of the city including at Katra Bhai Sant Singh Chowk, Hukam Singh Road and at many places on the Majitha road and Batala road and even posh Ranjeet Avenue area.

Jaswinder Singh, secretary, MC’s Vending Zone, said: “The objective of the Central government scheme was to shift vendors to 37 designated places. The notification was also issued. The plan was to be implemented by the estate wing on the directions of the government. But static vendors resisted the move with full vigour fearing that they will lose their livelihood by shifting to a new place.”

Tribune Shorts


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