Street vendors will form a human chain near the Lady Goschen Hospital here on Thursday afternoon to demand a halt on eviction of street vendors until the Mangalore City Corporation works out a solution.

Convenor of the Beedhi Badhi Vyaprasthara Horata Samiti Sunil Kumar Bajal told presspersons on Wednesday that during the last meeting of the council, it had been decided to frame a comprehensive solution to the problems of street vendors by July 15.

He said that until then, the evictions need to stop as the street vendors had a hand-to-mouth existence for the last two months since the evictions began.

He said that a delegation of leaders from the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular), and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj recently and submitted a memorandum to him.

Hunger strike

If a workable solution is not found by July 15, street vendors would go on an indefinite hunger strike in which 20 councillors, and around 25 groups including women's groups, Dalit groups, bank unions, and the LIC union would participate, he said.

Asked why the street vendors did not occupy the space allotted to them inside the Central Market, Mr. Bajal said the space was originally meant for women farmers and that it had no facilities.

“Besides, street vendors must be allowed to ply their trade on the street,” he said and claimed that it was possible to allot vendors space on the street without disturbing the other road users and pedestrians.

Alternative venues

To a question, Mr. Bajal said there was space near the tempo stand in front of the service bus-stand, and near the park in the State Bank area where around 75 traders could be accommodated.

Allegations

Responding to allegations about the group which held a news conference recently stating that the leaders of the samiti were collecting money from the vendors, district secretary of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions Vasant Achari said that Rs. 120 was union membership fees for which receipt was issued.

Mr. Bajal said it was an attempt to obstruct their (horata samiti) struggle, and that it was well known that Rahim Uchil, honorary president of the Mangalore City Minorities and Backward Classes Street Vendors Sangha was from the Bharatiya Janata Party which was ruling the Corporation.