SHILLONG, Dec 19: The ongoing protest of the city’s hawkers in demand for the state government to implement the Central law, thereby ensuring their rights came to an end on Monday even as the hawkers have resolved to continue demanding their rights till the state government pays heed.
Slogans such as ‘Make more areas No Parking Zones not No Vending Zones’, ‘People are more valuable, not cars and bikes’ were raised by the hawkers during a sit – in demonstration that was organized by the hawkers on Monday.
The agitation taken out by the hawkers has caught the attention of the general secretary of the National Federation of Hawkers (NFH) who will be visiting the state on December 23, to meet the affected hawkers in the state capital.
The hawkers under the banner of the Meghalaya and Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association (MGSPHSVA) have been protesting in front of Municipal office for the past five days.
Apart from demanding the central law, the hawkers have also boycotted the application forms issued by the Town Vending Committee (TVC) while claiming that the TVC was illegally constituted as it does not have adequate representation of hawkers.
They have also objected to the fact that an in situ (or where persons are selling) survey of persons as well as vending places has not been conducted.
With regards to Shillong Municipal Board recent submission before the Court that most places including, PB, G S Road, Motphran, MTC, Jailroad, Laitumkhrah and such will be declared no vending zones, the hawkers said, “This is against the law where natural markets cannot be declared as no vending zones.”
“SMB also stated to the court that only 700 hawkers - one per family - can be accommodated in the city. This is again against the law as the “holding capacity” has not been determined,” they stated.
The protestors also claimed that during the 5 days, persons who were not hawkers were also seen taking forms. “This goes to prove that if systems as per law are not put in place there will be rampant corruption and nepotism denying the genuine hawkers their rights,” they pointed out.
Further, the board has indicated that they will not allow vending in carts and vehicles. Given this, it is clear that the form giving exercise was nothing but yet another attempt to befool the hawkers and citizens, they added.
The Meghalaya and Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association on December 16, has also filed a writ challenging the constitutionality of the Meghalaya Act on Street Vending.