Pushcart traders in Kozhikode demand phased reopening of shops

With no means left for a living, the city’s pushcart traders have called upon the State government and local administrators to permit a phased reopening of their small wayside ventures by complying with COVID-19 protocol.

Leaders representing the Swathantra Thozhilali Union say the “endless restrictions and inconsiderate legal actions” have been crippling the lives of about 5,000 licensed pushcart traders within Kozhikode city limits alone.

Abdurasheed, a pushcart trader who used to camp near the Butt Road beach, says licensed traders are now forced to stay at home. “No one is there to pay attention to our crisis,” he laments.

The worst hit in the field are food-based ventures operated by low-income groups of families along the Kozhikode beach. Many of them are now doing other odd jobs.

According to official figures, there are about 100 such licensed pushcart traders under the Kozhikode Corporation. Many of them had been relocated to the beachside following a rehabilitation plan approved by the State government. However, the rehabilitation proposals were not fully implemented owing to the pandemic outbreak.

“Before the pandemic crisis, we could easily generate a daily income of ₹1,000 by selling payasam on the beach. My wife and children were also part of this humble venture, which is now going through a crisis,” says one of the elderly caterers from Puthiyappa. He adds that the limited phone orders or occasional door delivery are hardly sufficient to meet their needs.

The situation is almost the same for about 90 licensed street traders on the renovated S.M. Street. Many of them fear that their existing stock will be damaged if lockdown continues. Such traders will be forced to purchase fresh stock by borrowing money from their friends or banks.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 11:38:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/pushcart-traders-demand-phased-reopening-of-shops/article34805120.ece

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