Plan for Delhi’s car-free Connaught Place raises fresh hope in evicted vendors

Vendors body in talks with city agencies in revamped Connaught Place

delhi Updated: Jan 09, 2017 08:00 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
CP,street vendors,livelihood
An NDMC worker removes an ice-cream vendor’s cart in an eviction drive at Connaught Place in April 2016.(Raj K Raj/HT File)

Fifty eight-year-old Manohar Sinha, a street vendor who used to sell export-quality clothes at Connaught Place’s Palika Bazar, has been sitting at home for over two months.

Since the New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) eviction drive snatched his livelihood, he hasn’t been able to set shop elsewhere.

The plan to pedestrianise the inner and the middle circles of the market has, however, sparked new hope for him and hundreds of street vendors who were evicted in the year-long drive.

“There have been talks that to make CP a vehicle-free zone they will make changes to the landscape of the market, and vendors like me could get a chance to set shop again,” Sinha said.

Read more:’Pedestrian-only’: Connaught Place to go vehicle-free from February

Since December 2015, the council removed over 250 street vendors operating without licences from CP, Sarojini Nagar and Gole Market in phases under the smart-city initiative.

The licences of those who operated beyond the space assigned to them and those who rented out their spaces were also cancelled.

Ram Singh Tripathy, a tea stall owner at Barakhamba Road, alleged that he paid officials Rs 20,000 to get a licence after he was evicted from his spot in May 2016. However, he still awaits a formal certificate.

“There was a meeting conducted on Saturday after the new proposal was announced. The president of our association has guaranteed that they are talking to the NDMC officials to allot designated space to the vendors who were evicted. If there is any formality that needs to be fulfilled we are ready to complete it,” said Tripathy.

Read | Vehicle-free Connaught Place: A much-needed angiography for Delhi

He said though the news brought hope to vendors, they had not heard a formal announcement.

Manish Pandey, president of traders’ body Palika Vikreta Sangathan, said at least 150 vendors can be accommodated, according to the new plan submitted to the Union urban development ministry (MoUD).

“We were told we will be relocated but nothing has been finalised. What will poor people like us do? At least till a proper arrangement is made, we should be given space to operate our businesses,” Pandey said.

NDMC officials said the inner and the middle circles will be revamped with facilities for shoppers. “It is possible that a few vendors will be given space to operate but it depends on the final plan,” said the official.

First Published: Jan 09, 2017 07:35 IST