National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) and its affiliate Ludhiana Rehri Phari Federation have decided to protest in “strongest terms” on June 21, if the local body fails to announce the formation of Town Vending Committee (TVC) and vending zones for street vendors to sell items of daily needs without any hindrance.
The protest will take place at the Zone-A office of MC at Mata Rani Chowk, where the protesting members will block movement of the MC officials.
NASVI programme manager Ranjit Abhigyan, who was in Ludhiana, said MC commissioner RK Verma and mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria were only trying to remove the poor street vendors without announcing any alternate means for their co-existence vis-à-vis retailers.
Abhigyan said the street vendors were micro-level entrepreneurs, who earn their livelihood by selling items of daily use. He said more than 3,000 street vendors would protest against the MC commissioner and mayor in case they failed to act on their demands.
“So far we were engaged in dialogues with the MC, but nothing came out of it. Thus, we have decided to protests against the elitist commissioner and mayor, who do not want to see street vendors in the city, and that is why harassing them on daily basis,” said Abhigyan, who had come from Delhi to attend a meeting of street vendors.
“Formation of TVC with 40% representation of street vendors and creation of 77 vending zones across the four municipal zones in the city have been the longstanding demands of the street vendors, but to no avail” said Abhigyan, adding that Punjab was one among the few states that had not enforced the 2004 National Policy for Street Vendors properly.
General secretary of the Rehri Pahari Federation Tiger Singh said there was enough space in the city to accommodate street vendors. “The places proposed by us will have no traffic problems. Moreover, a large number of municipal councillors are also in favour of creating vending zones at those places” said Singh, adding that around 15,000 street vendors need to be accommodated in different vending zones in MC. Although NASVI and Rehri Pahari Federation had already submitted a proposal to the MC for the creation of vending zones, but no action was taken so far.
Abhigyan said that he was surprised that “RK Verma was merely conducting meetings on various issues, but was not aware of the ground realities that needs to be addressed”.