Delhi govt drafting street vending policy, will benefit hawkers: Bhardwaj

: The Delhi government will soon introduce a “street vending policy” to organise sector and ensure hawkers get dedicated spaces for trade, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief spokesperson and Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference, he said the surveys carried out to identify and register street vendors will continue till December 7. Data showed that so far, the city’s municipalities have identified 71,371 street vendors throughout Delhi. HT had reported last week that the municipal corporations have started issuing certificates of vending to street vendors.

The announcement comes at a time when all the three MCDs in Delhi are scheduled to go for elections early next year. While BJP is currently ruling all the three MCDs, AAP is a key contender and is the principal opposition at present.

“The issue of street vendors in urban clusters in not just Delhi, but all metros across India. There are two points to keep in mind when talking about this. One, the society needs street vendors — be it a fruit/vegetable vendor, laundry and ironing services, cobblers, and so on — to be able to sustain their livelihood… Two, if a street vendor is not situated in an ideal location, then it causes problems in movement of people, especially pedestrians. Overall, there is an urgent need to balance this situation out,” he said.

“The Delhi government is working on a highly progressive policy for street vendors in the city. Under this, all street vendors are identified through town vending committees. Work is being done to estimate the number and kinds of vendors all over Delhi…,” Bhardwaj said.

Officials said the Delhi government is working on ideal locations for these vendors to continue their business without disrupting traffic, blocking footpaths, or taking up space on someone else’s property, and to peacefully conduct sales without any extortion by the MCD or the police.

Bhardwaj accused the MCDs and policemen of extorting large sums of money — “ranging from 500-2,000” — from street vendors, and “have their stalls shut down if they don’t pay”. “With the implementation of the policy, street vendors in Delhi will get a place to efficiently conduct business without any disruption to movement in traffic or footpaths, or to the RWAs. The AAP will ensure that street vendors don’t pay anything to the MCD and police, and every section of Delhi will benefit from the new policy,” he said.

Data showed that as of September 30, 2021, at least 23,951 street vendors had been identified by South MCD, 27,819 by North MCD and 19,577 by East MCD. After surveying and registering all the vendors, elections will be conducted among them and vending committees will be established according to the various zones throughout Delhi. Following this, the procedure of allocating zones to respective street vendors will be commenced.

“BJP’s Jhuggi Samman Yatra programme is futile if its councillors don’t stop extorting money from street vendors — stopping this will be the biggest honour for the vendors.’’ said Bhardwaj.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor dismissed the charges as “politically motivated”. “During the last five years, the Arvind Kejriwal government extended no help in setting up of street vendors committees and today, when civic elections are less then six months away, the AAP leader (Bhardwaj) is announcing schemes, that too without mentioning a time frame. The three municipal corporations have already identified over 71,000 street vendors and the civic leadership is issuing them certificates… Even AAP councillors are hailing the scheme and getting certificates issued to vendors in their wards,” he said.

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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.