Now Cobblers Demand Their Place Under The Sun

Cobblers plying their trade and still on the footpath of Imphal. Image Credit: Sangai Photo

IMPHAL, Apr 15: After allotment of space to women street vendors selling vegetables and other consumable items at the temporary market sheds, settling all misunderstandings, it is now the cobblers in Khwairamband Bazar area who have demanded a place of their own under the Sun, in Khwairamband Bazar.

Like other street vendors, cobblers in Khwairamband Bazar area too have been eking out their livelihood, regardless of inclement weather, in their fight for survival.

They demanded that the Government should provide proper plot to them instead of deploying police to chase them from one place to another.

Talking to The Sangai Express, L Indramani (70) and Md Tomba (50), who are working as cobblers on the southern side of BT road, pointed out that since the beginning of  1977, many Meiteis and Meitei Pangals have been coming out to work as cobblers in their fight for survival at different parts of Khwairamband Bazar including in the front of Usha Cinema hall, at the sides of MPP office complex, near Hao Keithel, in front of BT Park and along the side of Johnstone Higher Secondary School.

In 1979, All Manipur Shoe Makers’ Association was formed and it started raising the demand that proper plots be allocated to the cobblers. The Association had earlier submitted a representation to the Imphal Municipal Council in connection with this demand and the former MLA of Kshetrigao Assembly Constituency Amir had taken up the case with the then Chief Minister. But so far, the Government and its related authorities have not given any positive response to the demand although proper plots for other street vendors have already been arranged, they lamented.

The aggrieved cobblers further pointed out that after the developmental activities in Khwairamband Bazar; they have been facing difficulties in plying their trade, with the police herding them from one place to another.

Earlier, one cobbler could earned anywhere between Rs 200 to 400 daily. But now it is difficult even to earn Rs 50 in a day, the cobblers disclosed.

In case of further developmental works in Khwairamband area in future, where would we go? they questioned.

At one time, Non-Manipuri migrant workers used to work as cobblers in Manipur. But with limited job opportunities and realization of the sense of dignity of labor, many local men have come to this profession. The expectation of these native cobblers should not be belied by the Government and ensure their protection along with providing proper plot, they observed, while drawing the attention of the Government and the Chief Minister in particular.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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