Street Vendors protest against MCC Raids and Rules
Mangaluru: If you have been wondering where most of the street vendors have gone shutting down their businesses today – the answer is simple – they have taken a day off their “illegal” business to protest against the surprise raids by Mangaluru City Corporation and police, and also against many other issues. The streets near State Bank, Lady Goschen Hospital and many other locations seem to be vacant which otherwise is always occupied by illegal street vendors, making hard for motorists to park their vehicles.
Several street vendors, who sell knick-knacks and food items in various parts of the city protested against alleged MCC and police atrocities against them. Among many other demands, one of their demand was: that they be allowed to hawk wares in order to eke out a livelihood. Hundreds of street vendors took out a rally from PVS to MCC office-Lalbagh protesting against the high-handedness of the city police, and Mangaluru City Corporation officials. The vendors, under the banner of CITU, took out the procession demanding that the state government and the MCC must provide exclusive zones to carry out their business. Although not all street vendors supported today’s rally and protest, but there were quite a few to raise their voice against the MCC and the government. Various leaders under the leadership of Sunil Kumar Bajal-Honorary President- DK Street Vendors Association (CITU), along with Mohammed Mustafa (President), Santhosh Kumar RS (Vice President) and Attauallah (Treasurer) of the association spoke at the gathering in front of MCC office.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Sunil Kumar Bajal said, “The street vendors have been harassed by police and MCC authorities many times, which is ridiculous. They are evicting us on the pretext of clearing encroachments on the footpaths. They are depriving the livelihood of thousands of vendors in the city. It is against Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation) Act, 2014. Although we have submitted a memorandum to Mangaluru city police commissioner, mayor and MCC Commissioner and other district administration authorities earlier but nothing has been done to address our woes. Not just MCC officials even the traffic police have been harassing street vendors at many locations in the city”.
“We do not want to create hassles for pedestrians. We want the MCC authorities to allot separate areas for us to carry out business. MCC should immediately issue ID cards to nearly 208 street vendors who have been selected. And the remaining nearly 350 street vendors should also get their ID cards soon. As there is a law that before a raid is conducted there should be a TVC meeting-but this is not followed, where MCC officials raid the street vendors and cause damage to their business. We urge the MCC officials and police to stop raids and harassment immediately. Come up with a plan to provide these poor and hard working people with a suitable place to run their business and earn their living” added Bajal.
“I am a single mother with four children. For the last few months, I have hardly set up my street side business, and not earned a single rupee. I have not been able to pay either the rent or my children’s school fees. The Government and MCC should come up with better plans so that we poor people can earn our daily bread”, said Marybai, who sells vegetables near State Bank vicinity. “A few weeks ago my goods, mainly women’s clothing items, worth over Rs 10,000 were seized by the police. They used unparliamentary language and even kicked me when I asked for my goods. I had set up my street side business in a place which didn’t block the parking nor pedestrian way. But still, I was evicted and looted off my things. that’s rude and that needs to be stopped.” said Mubarak, a Street vendor in Market road area.
In conclusion, this drama between the MCC and the street vendors have been going on for years. All of a sudden MCC raids the illegal business run by the street vendors, but within a couple of days, they are back in the same spot carrying on their trade again until MCC decides to evict them after a few months. Seem like a joke all the time, and nothing has been done to rectify this issue. While these street vendors are harming the business of legal shop owners, but for the common people shopping for their requirements with the street vendors save big bucks for them. So it has been a tough time to handle this situation, between MCC, Street Vendors and Customers.