Rehri-Fadi Khokha Union, which is heading street vendors in the district, has approached the high court against the alleged ill treatment the vendors are facing from Municipal Corporation Jalandhar, following which the HC took notice of the matter and served notice (copy with HT) to MC commissioner GS Khehra. The hearing of the petition will take place on September 23.
Nearly 15,000 street vendors, both stationery and mobile, operating in and around the city are at the receiving end, since they are facing harassment at the hands of the municipal corporation officials every now and then.
This is despite the fact thec (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 protects their livelihood.
The union since long has been alleging that tehbazari department, under the pretext of clearing footpaths of encroachments, is meting them out a harsh treatment.
According to the Act, videography of street vendors was to be done to identify them and their places of work, so that vending zones/places could be demarcated to help them earn their livelihood and to make way for free movement of commuters.
The survey has been completed, but no alternative site and ID cards have been provided to the vendors yet.
Harjot Singh, superintendant of tehbazari department, said the process will take some time and till then challans and compensatory fee will be taken from the vendors.
Moreover, the street vendors face the wrath of shopkeepers and police and musclemen. Several vendors at Rainak bazaar, outside the bus stand, opposite the district courts, and GT Road complain about the harassment meted out to them by the tehbazari wing officials and they are also afraid to get named because the officials will point them out and they will get harassed more.
VV Anthony, general secretary, Street Vendors’ Union, said, “Some vendors even alleged that the department officials are collecting up to Rs 2,000 per month and sometimes twice a month in the name of “fee”, besides bribes.
In civil writ, the union has said, “Even after the enactment of the street vendors act, the respondents have been issuing challans and heavy fines.”
The union has also given the list of fine imposed by the MC to the high court, demanding refund of all the fines.
Town vending panel
Anthony, general secretary of the union, alleged, “The ‘so called’ town vending committee formed does not have even a single member from street vending committee whereas according to the rules, there must be six representatives of street vendors.”
Harjot Singh, superintendent, tehbazari department, however, claimed that there were four representatives from street vendors.
Anthony said, “The officials take money from the vendors, where does that money go? We are fighting for street vendors’ right and will keep fighting till they get justice.”
MC Commissioner GS Khehra, when contacted, said he had not yet received the notice and will be able to comment once he gets the notice.