Form rules for protecting street vendors’ rights, says street vendor group

The Bruhat Bengaluru Beedhi Vyaapaari Sanghatanegala Okkoota (Federation of Street Vendor Unions of Bangalore) is a federation of Street Vendor unions in several areas of Bangalore. Our member organisations have organised unions in Vijayanagar, Gandhinagar, Shivajinagar, K.R.Market, Kamakshipalya, Aerohalli Ward No.72, Yegganahalli, Rajajinagar, Dodda Gollarahatti, 1st & 2nd Block, Nandini Layout, Nandini Layout,Ramkrishnanagar, Cholurpalya, Goragunte playa, Kamalanagar and several other areas of Bangalore. One of our member organisations, the Vijayanagar Beedhi Vyaaparigala Sanghatane is in fact the first registered Street Vendors Union in Karnataka. We have been working with vendors in different areas, making them aware of the New Street Vendors Act.

Bangalore is home to 1.5lakh – 2lakh street vendors. Street Vendors do not depend on the government for a livelihood but instead work hard to make a decent living. Many of the urban poor and middle class people in Bangalore depend on Street Vendors for access to goods and services ar affordable rates. Thousands of wholesalers are also dependent on street vendors for their business. thus an entire economic system is based on street vending.

Street Vendors have long been considered encroachers, inspite of several judgements and policies hailing street vendors an integral part of the city and clearly mention that the right to vend on a street is a fundamental right. the latest judgement on the issue – the judgement of the Supreme court on September 9th 2013 in Maharastra Ekta Hawkers Union and ANR Versus state of Maharashtra and others clearly states that street vendors have a right to the footpath and they cannot be removed in the name of public convenience.

Street Vendors have also been tried to be labelled as anti-pedestrian. In fact Street vendors and pedestrians are co-dependent. Without pedestrians we do not have a business, and without us pedestrians do not have access to several goods and services. In fact the report of the Jutice Verma Committee set up to look into the safety of women in public places said that streets with street vendors are fare safer than streets without street vendors.

On the March 4th 2014 the Hon’ble President gave his assent to the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihoods and Regulation)Act, 2014. This progressive act not only protects our rights but also envisages the creation of a participatory mechanism to plan, protect and regulate vending in the cities – the Town Vending Committee (TVC) . A minimum of 40% of the TVC must consist of Street Vendors themselves. One of the first activities to be done under the act is to construct a survey of all street vendors in the cities and provide them with a license to vend. The survey must be done by the TVC. However the TVC in Bangalore is not constituted since the rules for the Street Vendors Act, which guide the formation of the TVC have not yet been framed. We have demanded that the state government frame the rules as soon as possible and the Urban Development Department has assured us of action.

Section 3(3) of the act states that till the above mentioned survey is complete, no Street Vendors are to be evicted. However several BBMP officials, corporators and several police officials are unaware of the act and attempt to hamper street vending. In the last few months, various agencies have attempted to disrupt vending in the Water Tank area , Vijayanagar; Kamakshipalya and other areas. However, once our federation brought the act to the notice of the officials, they then did not hamper our work.

In fact the BBMP plans to re-model K.R.Market in a manner which would cuse the eviction of hundreds if not thousands of vendors. No vendors have been consulted or informed of the details of the remodelling. Any eviction which takes place here will be an action which is illegal and outside the framework of the law. Section 27 of the law also states that the police and other agencies are not to harass street vendors. However in several areas, the police (both law and order and traffic Police) continue to file false petty cases against our members.

Thus although several parties came together nationally to bring an act which protects our right to livelihood , we continue to be harassed. In order that our rights are protected, we demand the following: 

  1. The state government must immediately undertake a participatory process to frame the rules as per the act. The process must include the participation of street vendors and must be open for the public to comment.
  2. BBMP must form a town Vending Committee at the earliest and undertake a survey of all street vendors and provide a license.
  3. No street vendors must be evicted till the survey is conducted.
  4. The police must stop filing of false petty cases against our street vendors.
  5. BBMP must hold public meetings to bring awareness of the law to vendors and to their own officials.
  6. Public Toilets must be constructed across the city so that women street vendors are not put to difficulty. We must be provided access to garbage clearance facilities as well.
  7. Also, we are happy to note that the State Government has officially translated the act into Kannada, based on our demand. We ask that the Kannada version of the act be printed and distributed at low cost across the state.

We will continue to work with street vendors across the city to make them aware of the law. Any street vendors who wish to take our support to understand the law and protect themselves may contact us at – S.BABU, 9880316961, Rangaswamy C.E. 9845637421 and Vinay 98805 95032.

Click here to view the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation) Act, 2014

 

The content is provided by Bruhat Bangalore Beedhi Vyaapaari Sanghatanegala Okkoota  and has been published as is, under the Message Forward section, a space meant for non-profit messages by individuals and organisations.

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