Street vendors decide to reclaim their space today

Of the 350 evicted persons, 120 given vending space

An estimated 200 street vendors, who had been forcibly evicted from their place of business, have planned to resume their vending space on the pavements of Central Street and Meenakshi Koil Street near Bowring Hospital here on Monday.

The street vendors, who have come together under the aegis of Beedi Vyaparigala Hakkotaya Andolana, will be returning to claim their vending space as part of their “struggle for livelihood rights”.

More than 350 street vendors were evicted from the pavements around Bowring Hospital in Shivajinagar about seven months ago. However, no more than 120 of them have been provided alternative space for vending. “Though we have been knocking on the doors of the authorities concerned to provide an alternative location for us to earn our livelihood, there has been no response. Hence, we will claim our original space,” said Vinay, a representative of the andolana.

There are several street vendors in the city who have been forcibly evicted from the streets and the pavements of Shivajinagar, Jayanagar, Ulsoor and Gandhinagar by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the police and the Muzrai departments “without any notice or allocation of any alternative location for our livelihood”, Vinay said.

“Our repeated meetings with the Mayor, the Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner of Police and our discussion with the Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development have all been futile,” said Soumya, who also represents the andolana.

Several vendors evicted from Shivajinagar were carrying on the trade on the pavements for generations. “Our families have been increasingly impoverished and we are struggling to survive as we have been left with absolutely no source of income. Our children have been forced out of schools and our families have become shelterless because we cannot afford to pay fees and house rents any more,” she said.

The street vendors cater to the most marginalised communities, by making food and basic commodities affordable.

“Our struggle to make an honest livelihood is completely disregarded,” she said.

The street vendors are demanding that the original vending space be restored to them and space be allotted to each vendor on the extreme side of the pavement to carry out hawking, thus leaving adequate space for pedestrians.

The BBMP should reframe its street hawking scheme in accordance with the Constitution, Supreme Court judgments and the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors 2009 and the Model Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2009, the andolana said.

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