SEWA-Union stages protest

The Self Employed Women's Association-Union (SEWA-Union) members took out a march and staged a sit-in in front of the Neyyattinkara municipal office on Tuesday, alleging that they were forced by private contractors to pay exorbitant charges to sell their wares in town markets.

The union, in a statement here, said fish and vegetable vendors doing business at the Aaralummoodu and Neyyattinkara town markets were forced to pay more than what could be justified.

Contractors who had taken on auction these markets were forcing women fish vendors to pay Rs.100 for a basket of fish, while for men, the charge per box was Rs.20.

Women selling vegetables too had to pay high charges to be allowed to sit inside the market and sell their wares.

The Neyyattinkara town market was auctioned for Rs.20 lakh this year against Rs.3.65 lakh last year. The Aaralummoodu market went for Rs.35 lakh this year against Rs.20 lakh last year.

After protests from the SEWA-Union, the rates were revised to Rs.9 lakh at Neyyattinkara and Rs.20 lakh for the Aaralummoodu market, however, the rates levied from the vendors were not changed and the contractors were continuing with the hiked charges.

Further, there were no basic facilities provided in the market, making affairs tough for the women, the union said, pointing out that there were no provisions for drinking water or clean latrines.

Keywords: SEWA-Union