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Make us a part of Smart City: vendors

A street vendor displaying his wares on NSB Road in Tiruchi on Tuesday.M. Srinath

Street vendors in the city have called upon Tiruchi Corporation to integrate them in the scheme of things under the Smart City project rather than to attempt to evict them from the project areas.

Street vendors, who staged a demonstration near the Collectors’ Office on Monday to press their demands, opposed any move to displace them from their places of business under the pretext of implementing the Smart City project.

“Thousands of street vendors are eking out a livelihood by selling various goods in places such as Teppakulam, Big Bazaar Street, Chathram Bus Stand and Central Bus Stand areas without any hindrance to traffic for several years now. The State and Central governments have a duty to protect our interests,” A. Ansarideen a representative of the Federation of All Street Vendors Associations, which called for the protest.

After preliminary moves initiated by Tiruchi Corporation some years ago towards implementing the national policy on urban street vendors, there has been no forward movement to regulate street vending in the city. The corporation launched an enumeration of street vendors in the city and notified a list of 80 vending zones towards implementation of the policy. All other places are to be treated as non-vending zones.

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 recognises street vending as an integral part of the urban retail trade and provides street vendors legal status. Street vendors are to be enumerated ward-wise and each street vendor will be registered by the town vending committee and issued identity cards, vendors pointed out.

Municipal authorities are to provide a range of civic services to street vendors including allocation of designated areas for their trade.

However, the list of vending zones announced by the corporation triggered discontent among street vendors as they fear that attempts were being made to oust them from the existing areas of operation to places that were secluded and inaccessible to the general public.

The list of vending zones identified by the corporation did not include main commercial areas such as NSB Road, Big Bazaar Street, Singarathope and Nandhi Kovil Street, where a large number of vendors operated. The move triggered protests from street vendors’ associations after which the issue was put on the back burner.

The town vending committee is also yet to be constituted. The street vendors urged the Corporation to conduct elections to the town vending committee demanded that the all street vendors be issued identity cards.

The federation also wanted the authorities to initiate action against big commercial establishments that have encroached upon public space rather than targeting street vendors. They also wondered how commercial buildings have been allowed to be constructed without any parking space.


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