SCWGCS conducts workshop for women vendors in city

“Getting recognition like an identification card, Aadhar or a voter ID card is tough for us. We hardly get any government support. On the contrary, traffic police harass us all the time. I came here with my two children to earn a livelihood from Vijayawada after my husband committed suicide. Making idlis was the only thing I knew,” says Laxmi, a food vendor at Sitaphalmandi.

Many single women such as Laxmi participated in a workshop for street food vendors, organised on Tuesday by Sannihita Centre for Women and Girl Children Society (SCWGCS). Most of them lamented the lack of a grievance redressal system for women operating street-food joints in city. Several say that lack of an assured place for street-vending and compulsion to pay bribes at different levels makes running the business a big problem.

“I set up a ‘mirchi bandi’ at Uppal last year. But, due to pressure from authorities, I have to constantly move to different locations. This impacts my business. I take utmost care to maintain hygiene despite challenges,” says Sarala, another street food vendor.

Director of SCWGCS, V. Usha Rani, said that there is an urgent need to have a single window where all grievances of street food vendors are entertained.

“GHMC has to provide a system for street-food vendors and address their grievances. Authorities should accept the fact that there is a huge demand for street-food in Hyderabad,” she said.

The Director felt that vendors need an identity and deserve authenticity to operate. “Instead of taking punitive action, we feel authorities should address the challenges faced by vendors. This will only happen if everybody accepts that street-food is part of our culture,” Ms. Usha Rani pointed out.

In an attempt to resolve such issues, a two-day workshop for vendors, experts, government agencies and NGOs will be held in Hyderabad in December.

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