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Delhi govt to legalise street vendors and hawkers: CM

Delhi govt to legalise street vendors and hawkers: CM

New Delhi: Claiming to be the 'first state' to implement the Street Vendors Act, 2014, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that the AAP government will legalise the street vendors and hawkers and will provide them protection in the national capital.

"Delhi will become the first state to implement the Act. Under it, 28 town vending committees have been set up and a notification has been issued. The election for the committees too has been done," Kejriwal said.

The committees, each having 30 members, have 12 vendors or hawkers as their team, while rest of the members are officials, town planners, police and traffic police, and RWAs and market association, and officials from the health department, he said. Kejriwal said the MCDs and the civic bodies have been asked to conduct a survey of vendors through their respective town vending committees.

After the survey is completed, street vendors will be given certificates and thereafter, licences will be issued. "The licences will have the name of the owner, address and the place of vending, and this will ensure that they are not harassed by anyone," Kejriwal said.

He said earlier street vendors were harassed and forcibly removed by police and civic bodies. "Now licences will be provided to the vendors and it will end their extortion and harassment", the CM said. He added that the Street Vending Act will not only benefit hawkers but will also help in decongesting the roads in the city.

Kejriwal said, "In all major cities today, the street vendors have become a lifeline. They are a major means of development and employment for the city. If street vendors are taken off roads even for a day, we will lose access to many basic needs like vegetables, milk, fruits, etc. In a way, normal life will come to a standstill."

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was passed in February, 2014 to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2012 by then Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja. Kejriwal said as part of the procedure, the MCDs will have a survey to identify the vendors and hawkers in the area and "those who were removed from any part of the city due to any rule will also be given space."

The Chief Minister said the town vending committees will take the decision on the final number of vendors at any location.

"The committee will have all the power. It will identify vending and non-vending zones. The members will decide where the hawkers will be allowed. The government will not have any role," he said.

Kejriwal said the vendors play an important role in society in any city. "And it will not be wrong to say they are the lifeline of Delhi." He said developed nations have a legal way of organising these vendors. "In Delhi, they play an important role in the lifeline and economy. We buy vegetables, milk, fruits and other daily use things. But we don't have any policy to organise them. This results in so many issues," Kejriwal said.

Speaking about the issues faced by the vendors, he said the police, MCD and other local bodies harass them and extort money from them. "Different bodies have the anti-encroachment drive and the vendors have to bear the loss as their products were taken into the custody," Kejriwal sai. "After the law is implemented, they will not be harassed. We are also exploring if we can provide them with any structure as per international standards with garbage bins and solar panels for electricity. This will also uniform the markets and make them beautiful as well. They will also not hamper the traffic if their locations are fixed," the CM said.

"He said although there is no estimate of the number but close to five lakh vendors reside in the city.

Roushan Ali

Roushan Ali

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