Evicted last year, street vendors relocated in SRTC yard once again

Barely ten months after their forcible evictions from the SRTC yard here, authorities on Tuesday relocated the street vendors of Lal Chowk at the same spot.                                            

However, the vendors have sought assurance from authorities to ensure that they would not be forcefully evicted again in future.

“Srinagar Municipal Corporation authorities informed us that we can shift back to the SRTC yard and we shifted back,” said Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, President Young Man Footpath Union, Lal Chowk.

“Last year, we were forcefully evicted from the yard by the authorities,” Bhat said adding the union demands permanent rehabilitation.

Bhat said that government must pay attention towards the street vendors unions.

“We are around 500 vendors here. We are the lone earners of our families. Isn’t government for the poor people like us?”

Importantly, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir also visited the spot this morning to take the stock of the situation.   

“He was asking that a roof will be erected here for the relief of vendors and will also look into the cases of loans,” the President said.

Reacting to the recent statement of Commissioner Municipal Corporation Srinagar of planning to open shopping malls in the city for the vendors, Bhat said: “If it happens, it is be a well come move. We are happy over the idea,” he added.    

In May 2016, street vendors and hawkers who had occupied footpaths and roadsides in Lal Chowk and its adjacent markets were shifted to SRTC bus yard.

However, authorities closed that market during last year’s unrest as they had refused to open the market. Hawkers alleged that their belongings were taken away during unrest and they claimed that the market was closed without any prior notice.

Pertinently, there are some 2,500 vendors from across the city registered with the SMC who are to be rehabilitated.

Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Shafqat Khan had recently told Kashmir Vision that the Lal Chowk vendors have been rehabilitated at STRC yard.

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