Despite heightened vigil, vendors continue to carry out business in unlicensed areas in Kochi

Vendors should be directed to move to spaces where footpaths have a width of more than three metres, says High Court

October 05, 2022 10:12 pm | Updated 10:12 pm IST - KOCHI

Vendors have encroached upon many of the recently developed footpaths and walkways in Kochi. A scene from near Fort Kochi.

Vendors have encroached upon many of the recently developed footpaths and walkways in Kochi. A scene from near Fort Kochi. | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

Despite vigil by the beefed-up Jagratha Samitis, street vendors are carrying out business in unlicensed areas and on footpaths.

The monitoring committee/enforcement squad has come across several instances where holders of certificates of vending have failed to comply with the specified conditions. These instances were brought to the notice of the High Court in a report submitted by the amicus curiae in a case pertaining to street vending. It was also noticed that vending was undertaken in areas where the width of the footpath is less than three metres despite the court directive not to do so.

When the case regarding street vending activities came up, the High Court directed the monitoring committee to take action against vendors who were violating the conditions of licence.

The court also ordered that whenever the monitoring committee/enforcement squad came across vending on footpaths with less than three-metre width, the vendor concerned should be directed to move to the nearest vending place in the same area where the width of the footpath is more than three metres.

The court also ordered that its directives shall be strictly enforced by the monitoring committee/enforcement squad pending finalisation of vending zones by the Kochi Corporation.

The court had earlier directed the monitoring committee to convene a meeting of Jagratha Samitis to ensure that they continued to function uninterruptedly when it was brought to the notice of the court that they were not functioning effectively.

The Samitis concerned were earlier asked to maintain a heightened vigil against re-occupation of premises by unlicensed vendors from where they were evicted and to report every such instance of unlicensed vending to the monitoring committee promptly.

The Town Vending Committee/Corporation has also been asked by the court to bear in mind that every vending zone identified by them will have a maximum capacity of vendors that can be accommodated, and fresh applications for a vending licence can be considered only for those vending zones where there is no saturation of street vendors.

The court reiterated that only those who had been issued with a certificate of vending, after consideration of their applications, would be entitled to carry on street vending.

As for the finalisation of bylaws on street vending, the State government has been asked to promptly examine them on receipt of the revised bylaws and grant the necessary approval if they are found to be in order without delay. The Corporation is required to formulate bylaws relating to vending restrictions, collection of maintenance charges and taxes, regulation of the quality of products and services to the public in vending zones and also maintenance of public health, hygiene and safety standards, as per Section 37 of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act.

The bylaws sent by the Corporation were returned by the government earlier for effecting modifications in them.

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