Women Vendors Toil Under Sun/Rain At Lamphel Market

(Left) Women vendors selling goods at the open market and the IMC run mobile toilet (right)

IMPHAL, May 13: While women vendors, who have been evicted from the street corners of Khwairamband Keithel area, are seemingly satisfied on being provided the open space near Shankar Talkies to earn livelihood absence of basic amenities at the new site have been cited as the main impediment in the womenfolk sustaining the trade.

Due to the recent drive by the Government a large number of women street vendors have shifted to the sprawling compound, where number of customers is reportedly increasing with each passing day.

However, lack of basic infrastructure such as a pro-per place to relieve oneself, godown facilities and transport bottlenecks are some inconveniences being endured by these vendors at present.

Speaking to The Sangai Express, some of the women vendors drew attention of the Government to ensure availability of this basic infrastructure and suggested that market sheds be constructed on priority basis as carrying on with the trade under the heat or rain is a great health hazard.

Informing that some of their colleagues have fallen sick due to hours of exposure to adverse conditions, they also proposed that route of public transport carriers from different directions be redirected through Lamphel area as such an arrangement would not only reduce expenditure incur-red in the transportation of bulk vegetables but also en-courage customers to purchase at the new market place.

Further pointing out that lack of parking arrangement for the customers is another factor for customers’ reluctance to come to the market place, they also cited absence of toilet facility as a stumbling block to transform the new site to a bustling commercial place.

Even though call of nature could be answered at the nearby hotels or shops the owners charge Rs 5 to 10 to use the private facility and as such the vendors, along with the additional expenditures incurred in transportation and fee for storage of goods at the nearby shops, are compelled to increase price of goods to recover the loss, they explained.

Highlighting that a single mobile toilet complex run by Municipality authorities is inadequate to accommodate both traders and customers, in addition to absence of water compounding the problem, they also said on most occasion the women traders are forced to rush upto Khwairamband area to relieve themselves.

Moreover, space congestion at Lamphel area mean the small time traders have to take back unsold goods upto Nagamapal and Khwairamband Keithel areas which undoubtedly mean additional transport cost from Rs 10 to 20 at an average.

Reaching Lamphel from their respective place of residence has also been cited as another costly affair as vehicles have to be changed at least twice, one from their home town/village upto Imphal, and then to Lamphel.

With regard to selling of goods in the open, they said in addition to health risk the vegetables tend to rot/wither thereby resulting in the customers unwilling to part with their hard money to take home fretted vegetables.

Stating that due to absence of a uniform mechanism the new market place presently resemble a chaotic site, they contended that street vendors evicted from Khwairamband Keithel areas used to be from far-off places such as interior locations of Thoubal district, Nambol, Moirang, Keibul Lamjao, Sadar Hills etc but most of the open space in Lamphel have been occupied by unfamiliar faces often leading to confrontations.

Unwilling to get involved in confrontation most of the original vendors numbering over 500 are forced to ply their trade at the site reserved for construction of bus parking, they informed and called upon the Government to initiate market shed construction work at the earliest.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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