Mangaluru: Seems like these street vendors didn’t do any business on “Monti Fest”-These street side flower vendors from Hassan, Shivamogga, Bagalkot and surrounding areas, who land up in Mangaluru during festival time got in trouble with the police authorities of Kadri East Police Station this morning on Monti Fest day. For the last few days, these vendors had set up their street side business near Bendorewell, opposite to old AR D’Souza’s house selling flowers on the occasion of Krishna Janamashtami and also for Monti Fest. But this morning these vendors were taken for a surprise when the cops raided and confiscated all the flowers and dumped them in a tempo. The street vendors estimate a loss of about Rs 2 lakhs worth of flowers.
Here is two-sided version of the story–speaking to mangalorean.com one of the police officers said, ” We have been requesting these vendors from the last three days, to move from this location and do business somewhere else where there is no obstruction for traffic and inconvenience for pedestrians. Due to these vendors here near Bendorewell, there had been traffic congestion with citizens stopping by to buy flowers from these flower vendors. Also we had complaints from the flower shop owners at Kankanady market that allowing street side flower vendors has affected their business-and also that they pay taxes and have other utility expenses. Since these vendors had ignored our orders/requests, we had no other option than to forcibly evict them from this spot. They deserve this for their attitude-we have done nothing wrong”.
Speaking to mangalorean.com, Suresh Gowda on behalf of the flower vendors said, ” We have been doing street side business at this spot for the last so many years. We come to Mangaluru only three or four times a year, when some of the feasts need flowers. We don’t do any nuisance and we clean up our business areas when we leave for the day. The action taken by the cops is something very hurtful to us and our living- we have lost nearly Rs 2 lakh worth of flowers which the cops took it away to dump it in garbage truck. To tell you the truth, the few cops had asked us for money to continue our business, which we were reluctant to pay-I think that’s the reason the cops took action on us”.
But looking around the city, the menace of illegal street vendors is getting out of control- there are street vendors selling fruits/vegetable/Chinese food, chaat items, dosas/coffee/tea etc etc. The rapid growth of population recently has given rise to problems and difficulties that have been alarming and threatening the sustenance of human civilisation. More people mean more mouths to feed. In search of a livelihood, a large-scale migration of the rural population to the urban areas has become a common sight. Cities and towns with increased opportunities of employment coupled with industries and commerce have become increasingly congested and overpopulated. In developing economies as ours, the state finds it difficult to control as well as regulate such movement.
With limited infrastructure facilities, not all the citizens are able to avail the basic necessities of a living. Most of the migrant population has to live in slums and shanty towns which are at most times unrecognized and hence deprived of clean drinking water, electricity, proper sanitary mechanisms, health and medical facilities. The population being disproportionately high when compared to the limited employment opportunities, most of them have to carry on independent business activities and do not get any help from the state authorities in this regard. With a large poor population, the issue appears to be two sided.
On the one hand is the livelihood of these people and their families, and on the other hand is the regulation of economic activities, control on and crimes and illegal business, encroachment of land and property, illegal street shops and last but not the least the protection and conservation of the natural environment. In such a situation it becomes necessary and vital for the local municipal authorities to frame laws and thrust them to manage the behaviour of the society.
One such concern is that of street hawking in large cities. These activities disrupt the smooth functioning of the city in several ways but are difficult to regulate as they involve a large section of the society. Moreover, this population is a vote bank for political groups and a good source for harassment by the public authorities. MCC and other concerned authorities have to come up with a plan to relocate all these illegal vendors to a location which will not bother the city life, traffic and the earnings of those shop owners who run their business legally by paying taxes, rent and other utility expenses.