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Without legal status, they bribe law enforcers for survival

Olympia Shilpa Gerald
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Rs, 20 as mamul; Rs. 200 for petty cases

Demarcating vending zones may provide relief from incurring further debts or bribing authorities for survival, believe vendors in Tiruchi.

The lack of a legalised space for selling breeds a vicious circle of corruption. “What we earn is meagre and varies,” said Shanmugam (name changed), a vendor. “But everyday, we have to spend Rs.20 as ‘mamul’, separately for traffic police, then for law and order, as we are at their mercy.”

Free merchandise

Adds a biryani vendor who has been in the business for 30 years, “Every now and then, the police book petty cases against us on the grounds of public nuisance. Often, they tell us we have to lose a day’s revenue if we have to go to court and ask us to pay Rs.200,” he adds. Many vendors who spoke echoed the same grievance. This is apart from providing free merchandise to law enforcers.

Acknowledging that the practice of collecting money from vendors was widespread among law enforcers, a retired DSP turned activist felt implementing the street vendors policy can spare vendors of these hassles.

The norms of the National Urban Street Vendors policy provide for recognition of street vendors with identity cards and legalised vending zones.

Besides as the policy empowers the civic authorities to charge a fee, the Corporation stands to earn some revenue.

- Olympia Shilpa Gerald

Vendors allege that they have to shell out Rs.20 as ‘mamul’ ; Rs.200 for petty cases

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