SRINAGAR: Nine months after the High Court directed Srinagar’s civic bodies to clear streets and footpaths, street vendors continue to occupy many streets in the City.
Vendors can be seen selling everything, from electronic accessories, to clothes and vegetables from the roadsides in markets like Amira Kadal, Residency Road, Gonikhan, Batamaloo and Lal Chowk.
Many of these vendors say they have no choice but to violate the law for a living.
“The SMC and traffic department did not give us permission to sell fishes on the footpath. But it is only one source of income to feed to my family,” Mughala Bagium, a fisher woman at Amira Kadal said.
Sofi Naseer, president of All Street Vendors Batamaloo said there are more 1200 hundred street vendors in Batamaloo. “Where should they go? Their family income depends on the profession,” Naseer said.
“We had a meeting with deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh 10 days ago in which he said he has allotted five kanals of land for street vendors of Batamaloo at Parimpora. It is still pending,” he said. “There is vacant land in front of Batamaloo police station, if government allots this land for batamaloo street vendors, it will be good for us.”
Sheikh Hilal, a street vendor at Amira Kadal Bridge said that while the government allotted land for most street vendors from Poloview to Amira Kadal and from Amira Kadal to Hari Singh High Street but the street vendors of Amira Kadal bridge have not been allotted any place.
“If the government allots any good places to us we are ready to go there,” Hilal said.
However, those who have been allotted markets aren’t happy either.
Shabeer Ahmad Bhat, a street vendor at Hari Singh High Street said that the government has allotted the land for them near Khalisa School.
“We spend three months there, but due to low rush of people, we couldn’t do good business. After that we came back on the street so we can sell our products to the people, as on the footpaths most people purchase our products while walking by,” Bhat said.
Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation Riyaz Ahmad Wani, said that all street vendors from Hari Singh High Street to Batamaloo have been allotted land near Khalsa School.
“It is a commercial area for where they easily sell their products. But there are some street vendors who have more than 35 stalls in the street as they are working as contractors. We have also got some complaints regarding these contractors,” Wani said. “We have also alloted the land for street vendor near old SRTC bus stand. Some street vendors have also shifted there.”