Street vendors forced to pay bribe to station carts waiting for vending zones
With delay in setting up of vending zones, the street vendors are raising questions over the role of municipal corporation (MC). Some vendors alleged that they are forced to pay “bribe” for stationing their carts to run businesses at various places, and the vending zones can provide them relief from this alleged corruption.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 came into force in May 2014, but the civic body has yet to act for setting up vending zones for around 25,000 street vendors in the city.
Members of the Rehri Phari Federation, Ludhiana, alleged that some field staff charged bribe from them for allowing them to station their rehris at different places. These members also alleged that the officials deliberately delayed setting up of vending zones.
Federation president Tiger Singh claimed that the notification by the state government was also issued in February, but the MC is not serious about it. He said the town vending committee was formed last year, but it failed to identify the locations for vending zones.
“Some of the field staff of MC forcibly charge bribe from the vendors, and if a vendor does not pay them, then their rehris are lifted from the roads. We have been demanding to set up vending zones with which the street vendors will get a proper place to run their business and there will be no encroachments on roads. `500-`1,000 per rehri phari per month are being charged illegally from most of the street vendors,” he claimed.
A vendor in old city area alleged, “An employee of the MC used to charge money from me in routine. If I fail to pay them, they will lift my rehri. To avoid lifting of my cart, I am forced to pay them. We want the MC to set up vending zones at the earliest.”
It is required to mention here that temporary encroachments are a common problem in various city markets, while the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the MC to act strictly against these encroachments, but the officials of tehbazaari wing rarely act against them.
According to the sources, records of seized items are not being prepared properly by the tehbazaari wing, which also raised question about transparency.
Under this act, all street vendors will be provided space in vending zones through draw of lots. There will be a town vending committee in each zone or ward of the MC.
Joint commissioner Amarjit Sing Sekhon and additional commissioner Rishipal Singh could not be contacted for their comments.