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Centre’s street vending law hits a hurdle in Delhi

Last week, the Delhi government had notified the formation of 27 town vending committees (TVCs) after it was pulled up by the Supreme Court. But a majority of these TVCs, elections for which were held on July 15, don’t have the requisite number of vendors as members.

delhi Updated: Sep 28, 2018 04:21 IST
Risha Chitlangia
Risha Chitlangia
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
town vending committee,Supreme Court,Parliament
A 30-member town vending committee (TVC) should have 12 vendors. Of the 27 TVCs, 11 have less than six vendors. In 24 TVCs, a few posts for women and SC vendors are vacant. In one of the two TVCs notified in Civil Lines, there are no vendors. (Picture for representation)

Almost five years after Parliament formed a law to protect street vendors, lakhs of them in Delhi continue to live in fear of being evicted.

The reason: implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, is proving to be a major challenge.

Last week, the Delhi government had notified the formation of 27 town vending committees (TVCs) after it was pulled up by the Supreme Court. But a majority of these TVCs, elections for which were held on July 15, don’t have the requisite number of vendors as members.

These committees are to be formed for the implemention of the Act.

A 30-member TVC should have 12 vendors. Of the 27 TVCs, 11 have less than six vendors. In 24 TVCs, a few posts for women and SC vendors are vacant. In one of the two TVCs notified in Civil Lines, there are no vendors.

The Delhi government plans to call a meeting with all three municipal corporations to discuss the issue, said a senior official.

“The municipal corporations had conducted elections to fill the posts of vendor members in each TVC. But most TVCs don’t have the requisite number of vendors. We have notified the TVCs but we will ask the corporations to conduct by-elections to fill the vacant posts of vendors,” said an advisor to the chief minister.

Vendors’ organisations for long have been opposing the government’s decision to have multiple TVCs. The government had initially planned 71 TVCs, which it revised to 27 after vendors’ organisations approached the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court over the non-implementation of the Act.

Arbind Singh, national coordinator, National Association of Street Vendors of India, said, “The character and spirit in which the law was to be implemented is lost. It’s been almost five years and the TVCs are not in place. It is the absolutely impractical to have so many TVCs in a city like Delhi. The government’s decision to have multiple TVCs derailed the implementation of the Act. Today, vendors in Delhi live in the fear of being evicted.”

Sonu, a street vendor in Shastri Park, says hundreds of vendors were evicted in December last year.

“We are being harassed while there are vendors who are allowed to earn their livelihood near Seelampur metro station. There is constant fear of eviction,” said Sonu.

A senior official said the process to start the implementation of the act will take time.

“These TVCs have been formed to identify the electorate (genuine vendors), who will be eligible to vote for the formation of final TVCs. The locations for vending zones, rules, etc., will be finalized by the final TVCs,” said the official.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 04:21 IST