Ludhiana, June 6
Amid the Municipal Corporation’s ongoing drive against temporary encroachments, including carts of street vendors, a city-based street vendors’ union is again questioning the MC’s failure to establish vending zones as per rules. The MC has not taken any definitive actions to ensure the enforcement of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, in the city in the right manner so far.
According to the first survey of the street vendors that was conducted in the city around five years ago, a total of 21,725 street vendors were identified. In March 2019, the MC had started issuing identity cards to the verified street vendors who are still waiting for the implementation of the act guidelines.
A plan to set up 64 vending zones for the street vendors was notified in 2020 but no vending zone had been established at any of the identified sites (where vending zones were supposed to be established). During the Town Vending Committee (TVC) meeting held at the MC’s Zone A office in February 2023, MC officials announced a plan to shift the street vendors to 24 identified sites but no concrete progress has been made in this regard.
As per the Act, the Town Vending Committee concerned is responsible to ensure that all existing street vendors, identified in the survey, are accommodated in the vending zones as per the norms. Also, subsequent survey shall be carried out at least once in every five years.
A street vendor in an area under the MC’s Zone D said his food cart did not create any hindrance to traffic flow but he still faces troubles. “I have all necessary documents and even have an identity card that was issued by a government department concerned. However, despite complying with all requirements, I continue to experience harassment. Furthermore, some employees of the civic body and policemen often visit my cart and consume food without payment. If I dare to voice against them, I fear my cart will be confiscated, resulting in inability to operate my business. I have a family. I want the government must take decisive actions to protect the rights of street vendors,” he claimed.
Tiger Singh, president of the Rehri Phari Federation, Ludhiana, expressed concern regarding the lack of commitment from the civic body to establish vending zones for street vendors. He alleged that the vendors face harassment from both MC and the police.
He said: “Whenever we demand to create vending zones, our voice is not heard. The timeline for setting up the vending zones remains unclear and despite the corporation’s claims, its first vending zone for street vendors has not been established to date. We urge the government to prioritise the protection of street vendors’ rights and ensure they are not subjected to harassment.”
According to MC’s Joint Commissioner Kulpreet Singh, who heads the tehbazari branch, the MC had shifted some vendors to identified sites where vending zones would be set up but later they stopped using the sites. The street vendors’ union should motivate them to use the identified sites. A process is underway to set up the vending zones.
21,725 identified in survey
According to the first survey of the street vendors that was conducted in the city around five years ago, a total of 21,725 street vendors were identified. In March 2019, the civic body had started issuing identity cards to the verified street vendors who are still waiting for the implementation of the act guidelines.
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