New Delhi: Street vendors of Lajpat Nagar Central Market, Sarojini Nagar Market, Connaught Place Market and Janpath Market staged a protest outside Palika Bazar on Wednesday against North Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) alleging that the police were forcibly evicting them from conducting business.
The hawkers demanded they be allowed to conduct their business without the police and corporation official’s intervention.
Arbind Singh, Coordinator, National Association of Street Vendors of India said that Delhi government had assured the vendors that they would create vending zones in local markets but nothing has happened yet.
“Section 3.3 of the Street Vendors Act 2014 stipulates that no vendor shall be evicted till a Town Vending Committee is formed and a survey has been completed. Then why are NDMC and MCD officials evicting us?” said Singh.
Claiming it to be a sheer violence of their rights, Jitan Bahadur Singh, a fruit seller at Palika Bazar said that no prior notice was given to the hawkers before police acting on corporation’s orders, forcibly removed them from conducting their business.
“I have taken a loan of Rs. 70,000 to set up this shop. If the police do not allow us to conduct our business, how will we manage to repay back the loan?” said Rajkumar, a licensed vendor in Lajpat Nagar Central Market.
Police claimed that Lajpat Nagar Central Market was bought under the ‘no hawking zone’ after the 1996 bomb blast. “The majority of hawkers in these markets do not hold any license. Removing them is a part of our routine drive,” said a senior police officer.
“We don’t evict the legal vendors here. The corporation has directed us to remove the ones who are illegally conducting their business here,” said Dilip Rathore, a police constable stationed outside Palika Bazar.
The traders had filed a case in the Delhi high court, challenging the corporation and the police for allowing vendors in the market. The last hearing in the matter was on August 8. “The matter is sub judice. How can they evict vendors? The court has not issued any order,” said Singh.
The author is a journalist with The Times of India and is based out of New Delhi.