Street vendors demand permanent spaces

Street vendors demand permanent spaces
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‘Daily raids cause huge losses to business’

FAHIM MATOO/SADAF SABIR

Srinagar: Hundreds of street vendors in the city, who earn their livelihood on street sides bringing them in confrontation with police and municipal officials, are seeking a permanent spot for the hawkers.
The hawkers say that frequent face offs with police results in damage to stocks and carts, besides injuries to many vendors.
“Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) conducts raids against us many times a week. They usually seize our stock and often we lose our stock because of damage. This is dreadful for our business, and we request authorities to either stop these raids or provide us suitable land where we can peacefully earn our livelihood,” Tariq Ahmad Ganie, president of Batmaloo Street Vendors told Kashmir Reader.
Fayaz Ahmad Dar, a vendor selling garments at Hari Singh High Street since 2000 said that they suffer huge losses during the raids. “At times even customers run away with commodities,” he said.
Ganie said that some months back the Batamaloo vendors had a meeting with District Development Commissioner who “assured” to provide them four kanals of land near Parimpora bus stand within a week.
“Two months have passed since, now they are telling us to set up stalls near police station Batmaloo but that land is disputed and area is higly polluted,” Ganie said.
At the Amirakadal market, street vendors are confronted with a similar situation.
Mohmmad Shafi Bhagow, union leader of Amira Kadal Street Vendors said that they were provided land near Khalsa School, but wants authorities to commit that they won’t be evicted from that spot.
“We want a permanent space, and we want the government should give us in writing that we will not be evicted again form the spot they provide to us,” Bagow said.
“In the past we have been given several spots, but they later ask us to leave, so we will not go there unless they will provide us documents of that land,” The civic officials, he said, behave rudely with vendors, dumping commodities, including fruits in trash bins, and seizing the carts.
“Authorities are not trying to tackle other problems like illegal parking. If we are sitting here illegally then this parking is also illegal, why authorities are not taking any stern action against these shopkeepers,” he added.
A traffic police official at Amira Kadal, Nazir Ahmad, contended that the parking of vehicles by shopkeepers was illegal.
“We tried to stop this but they agitated against us so we are forced to let them park their vehicles,” Ahmad said.
Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Commissioner Riyaz Ahmad Wani told Kashmir Reader that they are following the orders of High Court.
“We can’t let them sell things on road sides as this is referred as illegal by High Court,” Wani said.

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