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Street Vendors Decry Lottery For Plot Allotment

IMPHAL, Feb 19: Objecting Government’s move for holding lottery in connection with shifting of street vendors to the Temporary Market shed, Nagamapal Women Street Vendors’ Association, Khwai Ima Keithel and Punshi Keithel Women Vendors’ Association suggested that there should be no politics in the issue of street vendors.

The bodies asserted that the decision of the Government to hold lottery in connection with allotment of seats to the street vendors is irresponsible and a ploy to appease political parties which have an eye on the vote banks. Such a decision would give a great impact on the genuine and poor street vendors who have been eking out their daily livelihood for the last many years.

It is said that in accordance to the data maintained by the Imphal Municipal Council and PDA, the number of street vendors have crossed over 10,000. As there is no possibility of accommodating all the 10,000 street vendors in the existing Temporary Market, the Government has taken the decision of holding lottery for allotment of seats to the street vendors.

To discuss the issue, a meeting of the women street vendors was held under the joint aegis of Nagamapal Women Street Vendors’ Association, Khwai Ima Keithel and Punshi Keithel Women Vendors’ Association at Majorkhul community hall today.

After a thorough discussion, the meeting outrightly rejected the decision of the Government.

Addressing the meeting, president of Ima Leipak Thougal Lup, Khwai Ima Keithel Ph Liklaleima pointed out that around 490 women street vendors who are selling their wares along the road sides of Nagamapal, starting from Maharani bridge to Kangjabi crossing as well as on the western side of Nagamapal and eastern side of Kasturi bridge along Naga Nullah, have been engaged in the trade for over 10 years now.

These women street vendors have been given the assurance of providing seats in the Temporary Market shed. But the decision of the Government to conduct lottery is against the spirit of this assurance. So, the Associations would never agree to such a step, Liklaleima stated.

In case, the Government fails to take up necessary measures to ensure allotment of seats to these 490 street vendors, the Associations would take re- course to various intense agitations, she warned.

Liklaleima further pointed out that the street vendors in the area from Maharani Bridge to Kangjabi Leirak crossing in have in the trade for over 5 years now.

These women street vendors, regardless of being license holders or not, have been selling various types of commodities like vegetables, fruits, items related to religious rites and rituals, rice, fishes, etc. Considering the whole gamut of trades in which these women street vendors are indulging, a fourth market could be constructed for them, Liklaleima contended.

Others who spoke in the meeting asserted that the data of the Imphal Municipal Council and PDA that the number of street vendors in Khwairamband Bazar has crossed over 10,000 is unreasonable. The excess have been created from the pockets of the politicians and they are not the genuine street vendors.

So instead of lottery, the genuine street vendors should be identified to allot the seats to them. Collection of money in connection with allotment of seats to the street vendors should also be stopped at once, they demanded.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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