Years on, wait for vending zones continues; Ludhiana Municipal Corporation least bothered

Years on, wait for vending zones continues; Ludhiana Municipal Corporation least bothered

As per the Street Vendors Act, the MC is supposed to ensure provision of vending zones in the city.

Harshraj Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12

Even after passing of many years, street vendors are still waiting for vending zones in the city.

The Municipal Corporation (MC) had in May 2021 floated tenders for the construction of the first vending zone on Hambran Road at an estimated cost of Rs 1.21 crore but nothing has been done at the ground level. The tendering process had remained unsuccessful.

In the absence of vending zones, the vendors are forced to sell their products on roadside in the city while their carts are often removed by the civic body. The MC has also been charging a composition fee from many of the vendors for the past few years but it failed to set up the vending zones for them.

As per the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, the MC is supposed to ensure the provision of vending zones for the vendors. After repeated demands of a vendors’ union, then MC officials had in 2015 claimed that the Ludhiana MC became the first civic body in the state to prepare a draft of bylaws, rules and plan for the implementation of the Act.

During the tenure of the previous SAD-BJP government in the state, assurances were given to the vendors that vending zones will be set up soon. After the Assembly elections in 2017, similar assurances were given to them during the tenure of the Congress government too. But, vending zones are yet to be set up.

In December 2020, the Department of Local Government had issued a notification regarding the MC’s plan to set up 64 vending zones for 8,989 vendors in the city. A total of 21,725 vendors were earlier identified in a survey done by the MC, of which 5,925 vendors were in Zone A, 5,377 in Zone B, 3,654 in Zone C and 6,769 in Zone D.

Some vendors associated with the Rehri Phari Federation had earlier also levelled allegations that the vendors were forced to pay bribe to the MC employees concerned for stationing their carts on roadsides. Questions are being raised to why the MC is delaying the process.

Tiger Singh, president of federation, said: “Certificates with detailed information were not even issued to the vendors after the survey was done, long time ago. The meetings are being held to discuss the matter but the work is done on papers only. No vending zones have been set up in the city by the MC. In the absence of the vending zones, vendors face a lot of harassment. The MC often takes action against the vendors even after charging the composition fee from them. We want vending zones as per the Act.”

MC Zonal Commissioner at Zone C Neeraj Jain said earlier, tenders to set up a vending zone on Hambran Road was floated but no firm showed any interest. A process was underway to set up the vending zones.

Vendors forced to sell items on roadside

In the absence of vending zones, street vendors are forced to sell their products on roadside in the city while their carts are often removed by the civic body. The MC has also been charging a composition fee from many vendors for the past few years but it has failed to set up the vending zones for them.

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