'Kejri govt's objective on vendors' bill not clear'

With the city Urban Development Department seeking suggestions from people on the Delhi Street Vendors’ Scheme, organisations working for the cause cry foul saying “it is a ploy to get views against hawkers”.

The umbrella organisation for vendors, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), said the Aam Aadmi Party government has never taken hawkers’ opinion on the issue.

“We won’t be surprised if the Aam Aadmi Party government says it has to come out with a scheme having “anti-vendor” provisions because of the adverse public opinion,” said Arbind Singh, national coordinator of NASVI.

“The advertisement (by the city government) gives only three working days for submission of suggestions and that too by an email or through post. The city government had earlier notified a street vendors scheme in October 2015, which it had to roll back because of many provisions that were against the interests of hawkers,” added Singh.

The Delhi government’s objective is not clear on the matter, he said.

“If it wants to throw vendors out of the city, it should say so rather than taking people’s opinion on street vendors’ bill. The government’s move is just an eyewash,” said Singh.
‘No consultation’

“The AAP government has not even had a single consultation with the vendors who are going to be affected the most by the bill. We have been giving memorandums to the government every now and then,” Singh told Deccan Herald.

There are around five lakh street vendors in Delhi, according to NASVI.

“It’s the question of the livelihood of lakhs of vendors. About nine states have notified the Street Vendor (Protection of livelihood And Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 and none of them sought any suggestion from people. If the AAP government wants to take someone’s opinion, it should be vendors and nobody else,” he added.

Activists, however, said they are not afraid of the public opinion.

“In fact, street vendors’ livelihood is dependant on the people’s attraction towards them. But our urban society is plagued by “Not in My Backyard Syndrome”.

Though people need street vendors and like them but many do not want them in their immediate neighbourhood,” said Singh.

The Delhi Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of street vending) Scheme 2015 prepared by the city government only has inputs from the civic agencies, he added.

“It has been prepared in a hush-hush manner. We urge the government to involve street vendors and their representatives in this process and then put it in public domain.”

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