A survey must be conducted to enumerate the number of street vendors across the city as a first step towards regulating street vending, according to members of National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI).

Complaining that the State government is yet to implement the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, which was revised in 2009, members of the Association staged a demonstration near Chennai Collectorate recently .

They association members demanded that the survey must cover all vendors, the number of year they have been in the trade and their income. This is necessary to ensure that the benefits reach the targeted sections and not those who also take up vending anticipating assistance from the government. V.Mageshvaran, the association's national secretary, said there were nearly 1.5 lakh vendors in Chennai. Though the State government had asked all local bodies to conduct a survey a few years ago, most of them are yet to initiate the process.

He demanded that vending zones must be implemented and small traders provided identity cards, licence and loans as mentioned in the national policy. A vending committee must be formed to monitor the regulatory measures. Pointing out that basket weavers on Mayor Ramanathan Salai were recently removed, he said vendors are harassed by the authorities to relocate on the grounds of developmental projects.

Chithamma Subramanian, a basket weaver, said, “We are in the basket weaving trade for about two decades. About 40 families are dependent on this trade. Now, we have been asked to move. We don't have any other place to go.”

Members of Allikulam Small Vendors Association complained that several traders have not been allotted space for three years now. M. Gopi, the association's president, said of the total 377 shops, nearly 244 are yet to be allotted space. The allotees have been given 30 sq. ft. each. “We still have not got ID cards. Though several representations have been made, the Chennai Corporation has not responded yet.” Mr. Mageshvaran said there has not been much response from the Madras High Court appointed hawking committee too. The commercial complexes for hawkers must be opened soon. He wanted a central law be constituted to protect the rights of the street vendors.

Members of the NASVI submitted petitions to Chennai Collectorate and Raj Bhavan.

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