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How many markets more?

IFP Editorial: The Manipur MAHUD directorate is still to come up with a definite plan of giving protection to the street vendors where they could be provided space without hindering public movement or traffic and most importantly harassment.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 28 Jul 2022, 7:24 pm

(File Photo: IFP)
(File Photo: IFP)

With regard to the rehabilitation of street vendors, the state government has got it all wrong as they still go on saying that the number of street vendors is more than ten times the number of vending spaces to be made available in the new market complex in the Tombisana High School complex.

Earlier, as Imphal Municipal authorities had banned street vendors in the main market complex after 8 am in the morning, tension developed between the vendors and the Municipal authorities backed by police and traffic officials and they were told to vend at Lamphel Supermarket campus after 8 am. This goes against the very logic of the term ‘street vendor’ and the very concept.

The government authorities must understand that the number of street vendors will keep on increasing. How many more markets are we going to build to accommodate new and newer street vendors. One remembers that the new market complex at the Tombisana High School site near the Old Assembly was constructed to accommodate some street vendors and vending licensees allotted by corrupt municipal authorities in murky deals.

ALSO READ: Women street vendors demand market shed at Khuman Lampak

The term “street vendor” refers to the person who is engaged in selling goods, wares, foods, groceries or day to day use product in the street, lane, footpath, pavement, footpath, public park or any public place having his/her temporary construction which deems suitable for any kind of vending activities to be carried out properly. Municipal authorities are required to declare ‘vending zones’ after due survey of the street vendors. 

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The All Manipur Street Vendors Federation (AMSVF) have called out the state government and municipal authorities for harassing the street vendors day in and day out, instead of giving them protection under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. How could they pay back the Covid relief loans extended to them if they are harassed in such a way?

This same question was raised in this space by us a while ago and the state is yet to come up with an answer, while the harassment by police and municipal authorities continue unabated. The state and its agencies simply refused to understand that, it was because of the very harassment that the Union government came up with the idea of having a law to give the street vendors protection. Street vendors or hawkers exist not only in the state but everywhere.

Street vendors are an integral part of urban economies around the world, offering easy access to a wide range of goods and services in public spaces. They sell everything from fresh vegetables to prepared foods, from garments to consumer electronics.

ALSO READ: Women vendors not allotted shops after collection of money in Imphal

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was enacted in order to legalise the vending rights of the street vendors. This Act was brought in consonance with the constitutional provision of Article 14 which states right to equality, and freedom to trade, profession, and business and enshrined under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The Act was framed to regulate the vending of the street vendors making a regulatory body for such vending, avoiding congestion on the footpath so that the traffic can be maintained freely. This Act envisaged a responsibility on the state to recognise the rights of the vendors and provide them with social security from any kind of infringement.

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The term ‘vending zone’ means any kind of area set by the local authority on the recommendations of the Town Vending Committee and such area shall include pavement, footpath, embankment, sidewalk, street lane or any public place which is considered for the purpose of street vending.

ALSO READ: Stop removal of street vendors, appeals AITUC-MSC

We understand that, the state MAHUD directorate had already completed the survey of street vendors in Imphal and outlying areas including most of the municipalities.

Yet, it is still to come up with a definite plan of giving protection to the street vendors like for instance issuance of vending licences or declaration of vending zones where they could be provided space without hindering public movement or traffic and most importantly harassment.

EDITORIAL

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First published:

Tags:

street vendorsImphal Municipal corporationvending spaceAll Manipur Street Vendors Federation

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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