Say roadside vendors eat into our profits; will evict them on Saturday

Several traders of the central market here have threatened to forcibly evacuate hundreds of street vendors, who have illegally occupied the pavements and the roads alongside the market, on January 4. Fed up with their demands being ignored by the Mangalore City Corporation, district administration and the traffic police, the traders have decided to resort to this step.

Hameed Kandak, founder-secretary of the Central Market Merchants’ Association, said the mounting loans and high losses incurred were forcing the authorised traders to take matters into their own hands.

On Saturday, nearly 500 traders from the market will evict street vendors who have set up shop in front of the stores of licensed traders, said the association. This would serve as a public warning to the squatters, said Mr. Kandak.

“The Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act specifically says there should not be a ‘parallel market’ within 200m of the Central Market. But, it is like a fair around the Central Market here. We pay municipal maintenance, electricity bills, employees salaries in our shops, and after all that, our profits are undercut by those who squat outside for free,” he said. By getting their wares from wholesalers in other areas of the state, and with lower operational costs – that is, no rent, electricity, taxes – the street vendors sell their goods at a marginal lower rate than the authorised traders, said the association.

“While directing the government to aid street vendors, the Supreme Court has specifically said that only vendors who do not obstruct traffic, or are not set up close to government markets can be authorised. In this case, the street vendors in the Central Market areas violate both clauses,” said Mr. Kandak.

He further alleged that the street vendors had formed their own clique to terrorise the traders, and were indulging in the sale of contraband, narcotics and alcohol.

Criticising the MCC for neglecting the traders, Mr. Kandak said the corporation had not delivered on their assurances of a new building for the market. The Association has submitted their memorandum to District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai and Minister for Urban Development Vinay Kumar Sorake.

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