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‘Civic Tiger' beats a hasty retreat

Staff Correspondent
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Pavement vendors staging a protest against their eviction in Mangalore on Friday.
Pavement vendors staging a protest against their eviction in Mangalore on Friday.

The “civic tiger” squad of the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC), which was evicting street vendors, beat a hasty retreat in the city bus-stand area here on Friday afternoon unable to face the angry hawkers.

Under the banner of the Centre for Indian Trade Union, vendors occupied a small place outside the fish market in the city bus-stand area and spread their wares, daring the MCC officials to evict them from the spot. A few vendors even sold vegetables.

The “civic tiger” squad, which arrived there, beat a hasty retreat, after seeing the agitating vendors.

The police too allowed the protestors to continue as long as they did not disturb traffic. Street vendors staged a demonstration in front of the MCC complex on Thursday demanding that the squad stop evictions with immediate effect.

They said the “tiger truck” was scouting the streets for vendors every day. The squad seized their goods, causing losses to them.

Addressing the agitators on Friday, president of the district unit of the CITU Sunil Kumar Bajal said the union and the vendors affiliated to it had resorted to an agitation as the corporation had not stopped evicting street vendors. Mr. Kumar said that the MCC called a meeting of the union leaders and street vendors on May 23.

“They (squad members) keep chasing us,” said Thipperudrappa (48) from Bellary.

He said that he and his wife had been trading on the streets of Mangalore for the past four years.

He said: “When they come, we try to grab as much as we can and simply run wherever we can hide. Sometimes, we lose most of our wares.” In the last raid, he claimed he lost vegetables worth Rs. 15,000.

Carmine D'Souza said that she had been eking out a living selling vegetables near Central Market for 35 years. She said the goods seized would not be returned. Nandish (18) from Jeppinamogaru sai: “I don't have money to study, so I have set up a canteen. I have a debt of Rs. 30,000, and recently officials took away cooking items worth Rs. 20,000.”

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