The vendors on the footpath along Sayyaji Rao Road and near the Suburban bus-stand were evicted by the police a few days ago. But with nowhere to go and authorities failing to provide them alternative space to conduct their business, they are back on the footpath carrying on with their routine trade. However, uncertainty about their future looms large.
Over 8,000 roadside vendors in Mysore city had heaved a sigh of relief when the former district in-charge Minister, S.A. Ramdas had announced in March that they would be covered under the State government’s micro-finance scheme to help them conduct their daily business. The scheme is yet to become a reality, says Manjunath Doddamane, president of the Sri Chamundeshwari Shramajeevi Rastebadi Vyaparigala Rakshana Samiti, an organisation of the vendors here.
Mr. Manjunath Doddamane does not know as to what happened to the Mysore City Roadside Vendors Multi-purpose Cooperative Society that was inaugurated here in March by the former Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar.
The State government had released Rs. 2 crore for the micro-finance scheme so that roadside vendors in the State need not borrow from private money lenders, according to Mr. Kumar.
But the scheme was not implemented at all, said Mr. Doddamane. He explained that most vendors on footpaths in Rammanahalli, Chikkalli, Vajamangala and Vagere are from surrounding villages. Most of them borrow money from private lenders at high rates of interest. For instance, if they borrow Rs. 900 in the morning, the vendor returns Rs. 1,000.
Mr. Doddamane said that the B.S. Yeddyurappa government had announced that Rs. 1 crore would be released for the welfare of women footpath hawkers but none benefitted from it in Mysore.
The former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had said Rs. 2 crore would be released for the implementation of micro-finance scheme for the benefit of footpath vendors, but that also did not materialise.
But evicted footpath vendors have only got an assurance from the police that they would be provided space along the Gandhi Square and Makkaji Chowk, he said.
The only scheme that seems to have reached is a training programme, that too for selected few. According to the general secretary of the District Street Vendors’ Association, Bhaskar Urs, selected food vendors were given training by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) authorities on three occasions in the past year. The District Street Vendors’ Association is a unit of the NASVI (National Association of Street Vendors of India).