Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 27
Covid-19 has rendered over 6,000 registered street vendors defaulters in the city.
Despite getting another chance of clearing their pending licence fee by July 26, only around 40 per cent vendors could make the payment. There are around 10,000 registered vendors divided in three categories — street, essential and non-essential.
They were earlier given April 28 as the last date for clearing their dues. Since many of them could not make the payment, they were offered one more opportunity. The defaulters are now staring at losing their vending licences. However, the corporation is yet to decide whether they have to be offered some more time for payment, given fee exemption or their licence should be cancelled.
MC Joint Commissioner Rohit Gupta told Chandigarh Tribune, “Over 6,000 vendors could not clear their dues. We will decide the further course of action in this regard by the next week.”
Street vendors lamented that during the first wave of Covid, they had got fee exemption, but it was not given this time. “Due to Covid and the UT Administration’s restrictions on opening shops/stalls, many of us had gone back to our native places as there was no business. Others were not able to put up stalls as there was no footfall for a few months,” said Jagat Shankar, a registered vendor.
The vendors also alleged that a step-motherly treatment was being meted out to them as the MC had given relaxations in fee to the second-hand car market and the night food street, but not to the poor vendors.
“We come from the economically weaker section. More than anyone, we need fee exemption. It is obvious that the vendors will not be able to pay fee as the pandemic has hit them hard. There was no business, how we will pay?” lamented Ram Milan Gaud, president of a street vendor body.
VN Sharma, member of now-defunct MC’s Town Vending Committee, said, “Though fee exemption was not given to them, we offered them to pay the fee in installments. We also extended the last payment date twice.”
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