The half-day protest called by various traders association in Central Delhi on Tuesday morning over removing street vendors could only be partially implemented. Many shops in major hubs like Connaught Place, Khan Market, Sarojini Nagar Market, Palika Bazaar and Janpat remained open despite the call by unions to keep shutters down till 2pm.
HT visited these markets and found that many shops owners had opted out of the strike. While Janpath and Palika Bazaar remained mostly shut, several shops in Connaught Place and Khan Market were found open. “Festive season is not the time for protests as business gets affected. Besides, many were not aware of the plan,” said a shopkeeper at Khan Market who did not wish to be named.
When asked about the lukewarm response to the strike, Atul Bhargava, president of Connaught Place Market Association said, “We had requested all shop owners but we can’t force anyone to join in.”
At the same time, there were hundreds of traders from different member associations who supported the protest and marched till the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) headquarters from Palika Bazaar. The shop owners demanded proper implementation of the high court order on removal of illegal hawkers in the area. A small delegation also met the NDMC chairperson and handed over a memorandum.
“We demand removal of unauthorized hawkers from footpaths, walkways, pedestrian paths, public passages, no-hawking, no-vending and no-squatting zones of Lutyen’s Delhi. Our business is severely getting affected by these street vendiors,” Bhargava added.
Municipal authorities had carried out eviction drives after the Delhi High Court on October 5 asked the three municipal corporations, NDMC, and Delhi Cantonment Board to remove illegal hawkers from all pavements, footpaths, and Metro station areas designated as no-vending zones prior to the Street Vending Act, 2014. The Delhi government, however, issued an order on October 10 asking the civic agencies not to evict the street vendors in the festive season.