Commissioner promises not to issue challan and harass street vendors

INDIA (NEW DELHI) - 20TH JANUARY: Thousands of Street Vendors from different markets of Delhi marched in different groups to the three Municipal Corporation offices in Delhi demanding an immediate stop of the issuing of challans on frivolous and many a times no grounds. A challan, in this case is a term generally used in India when a receipt for payment is issued to vendors in order for them to trade.

Protestors marched to the Civic Centre, NDMC Palika Kendra and Udogsadan, where offices of the four Municipal Bodies are located and demanded immediate survey of street vendors. Thereafter they locked the gates of these Corporations shouting "NAGAR NIGAMS ARE NARAK NIGAMS."

Addressing the Street Vendors on the occasion, the National Co-ordinator of NASVI, Arbind Singh said that the vendors have suffered enormously due to inaction by the Municipal Bodies. Citing examples he said that there are cases where a single vendor has to pay Rs 800 a day just to vend. "How is it expected of him to change his and his family members life when all the money earned is drained?"

Singh further added that on 20 January 2004, the Government of India adopted the National Policy. "Since then Vendors celebrate 20 January as Vendors Day. But for a vendor of Delhi there is nothing to celebrate. Only heaps of abuse, physical harm, extortion, forced confiscation of goods etc. Only formalisation would have changed this."

Mr Arbind Singh pointed out that due to consistent appeal to the Police Commissioner, the Delhi Police is regularly asking vendors to file complaints against Staff if they demand money, harass or threaten vendors. However the Municipal Bodies are yet to rise to the occasion. "They just keep finding one excuse or the other and do not even adhere to Court judgments Thus Despite continuous perusal and consistent pressure from all quarters i.e., Judiciary, Associations of Street Vendors, Government, regulations of street vendors of Delhi is not at all taken seriously by Municipal Bodies."

Beginning with 2004 National Policy on Urban Street Vendors to 2014 Central Act for the street vendors, Municipal Bodies of Delhi have only obstructed and used delay tactics not to regulate Street Vendors. It must be mentioned that immediately after the adoption of National Policy, the then Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was the first Municipal Body to adopt the National Policy. Many formalities like constitution of Town Vending Committees, Zonal Committees, and Ward Vending Committees were done but not a single vendor was issued a vending certificate in all the ten years. Vendors continued to rely on judiciary and many middlemen fleeced vendors of money just to get some court order. As such street vendors are continued to be extorted protection money by numerous agencies, harassed, beaten up, their goods confiscated, burnt and markets evicted. Judicial pronouncements in favour of street vendors have also failed to move them.

Pointing to the deplorable situation, Mr Arbind Singh, National Co-ordinator said, "Street vendors were left with no option but to protest at Municipal Bodies offices in Delhi. We decided 20th January 2015 because it was on 20th January 2004 that the first Policy of Street Vendors was announced and more than a decade has passed without even lip service provided by the Municipal Bodies of Delhi. They are not NAGAR NIGAM but NAARAK NIGAM."

On behalf of street vendors, NASVI National coordinator Arbind Singh handed over a two-page memorandum to Municipal Commissioner’s of North and South Delhi. At NDMC NASVI Program Manager, Ms. Anuradha Singh and at East Delhi Municipal Body Mrs. Sadaf Farooq handed over a two-page memorandum to Chairperson and Municipal Commissioner respectively.

After listening to the tales of exploitation and plight of street vendors in a huge Protest, the Municipal Commissioner of North and South Delhi, Chair person of NDMC, assured NASVI delegation that the rights and entitlements would be protected at all costs. They also assured that from now onwards no Challan will be issued against the vendor till the survey is complete.However NASVI Coordinator Arbind Singh said that if the survey doesn’t start within month time, Vendors will be forced to take necessary action.

Arbind Singh
National Coordinator
NASVI -9910306625

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StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies