Unhappy with Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s offer to construct temporary market sheds at Lamphel Sana Keithel (LSK) near the city, local vendors are gearing to intensify their demand for a separate marketplace near the Khwairamband complexes.
In a statement in the Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Singh said vendors were causing traffic jams and road accidents selling their wares on the street-sides. Observing that Congress president Sonia Gandhi too had voiced concern for the women vendors — selling perishable wares under the open sky — during her recent visit here, Mr. Singh said police often chased these shopkeepers away or destroyed their products. The construction of the sheds was well underway, he said.
Women vendors, who are the majority here, have been agitating from time to time demanding a marketplace after the government had dismantled the Nagamapal sheds to put up parking lots, some years ago.
The vendors say they had been forced, some time back, to temporarily shift to the LSK and it had proved to be an unviable option. The “market,” they say, was just an open field and not frequented by potential buyers due to its distance. Unable, therefore, to afford the transportation fare and bothered by police interference, they had decided to relocate to the streets.
Despite the amenities — toilets and shelter — that will be provided in the new sheds at LSK, the women remain unwilling to relocate there. They are likely to attract more customers on the streets, which do not involve parking fees.