Panchkula vendors during a dharna near Haryana Dy CM’s house in sector 21 in December. (File Photo)
THE TOWN Vending Committee on Thursday finalized January 15 as the date for the allotment of vending zones to as many as 458 vendors of the city in Sector 19.
The draw of lots for 458 vending zones will take place on January 15 while the possession of the vending zones would be given by December 20, according to officials of the Municipal Corporation. Municipal Commissioner Sumedha Kataria said those who are allotted vending zones on January 15 would also receive their materials that had been impounded by the MC during its anti-encroachment drive. “As the vendors are allotted the vending sites, we would keep giving them back their things that had been impounded,” she said.
Estate Officer Jarnail Singh said, “The committee decided that the impounded material should not be returned to those who are not allotted the vending sites as they will set up their rehri-pheris again.” The blueprints of the e-carts that the vendors need to stand at the vending zone have been made public so that the vendors can get their own carts made.
“We are definitely not giving any cart to anybody. We have told them what the size and measurement of the cart is. They can get them made on their own from wherever they find best,” said Sumedha. The monthly rent has been fixed at Rs 2,500 for the 2 x 3-meter space that needs to be provided to the vendors, according to the Street Vendors Act. Of this space, a cart of 2 x 1.5 meters will be set up while the rest of the space will be kept as the walking path, said Sumedha.
Of the monthly fee of Rs 2500, while Rs 800 will go to the MC, 2 percent of the amount will go to HSVP. The remainder shall go to the contractor/anybody that is in charge of looking after the vending zone.
The meeting was held on Thursday after almost two years. The last meeting of the Town Vending Committee had taken place on April 4, 2018, where a survey agency for the vendors had been finalized who had submitted its report in October the same year.
A sub-committee of 11 officials will also be made from the current 28-member Town Vending Committee to make this transition smooth. The current committee consists of as many as 28 members of the corporation, the HSVP, various government officials as well as residents of the city.
The protests outside the MC office of Sector 14 intensified as the decision of the vending committee came. A vendor said, “We have no representative in the Town Vending Committee as we had boycotted its election. The sites provided are only 450 whereas we are at least 3,500 in number. Even the e-carts they’re asking of us need so much money to be put in. Where will we get it from?”
While the vendors complain of the lesser number of sites, MC officials say their hands are tied as the HSVP has only allotted them land for a total of 850 sites as of yet.
The vendors have been protesting against the anti-encroachment drives that began on November 19 for more than a month now. Protests in large numbers outside the offices of top officials of the city have continued for the whole period. The vendors have been laying a siege to the MC office for at least a fourth day in a row braving the winter showers.
The committee decided that the impounded material should not be returned to those who are not allotted the vending sites as they will set up their rehri-pheris again”
— Jarnail Singh
On December 11, almost 2,000 vendors had walked up to Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala’s residence, who was unavailable the same day. He had talked to their delegation the next day, assuring them he will take up the matter with Home Minister Anil Vij and will arrange a meeting between the two.
On December 16, more than 1,000 protesters had laid a siege to the entry of Sector 17 in an attempt to meet the Speaker and local MLA Gian Chand Gupta. In a meeting that happened the following day, while the MLA had denied any respite in anti-encroachment drives, he had claimed that the vendors of Panchkula will be allotted their designated sites by the end of December.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court too, during the hearing of the case in the second week of December, had declined to interfere with the ongoing action against street vendors in Panchkula on December 10, observing that they have to go in case they are blocking the traffic or are obstructing parking/walking spaces.
On Wednesday, the hearing of a case regarding the vendors of the city that has been pending since 2015, had been adjourned to March 3. A contempt petition alleging removal of vendors in violation of court orders listed for the same day too was adjourned.
58.2 percent of vendors belong to Panchkula: Biometric survey
The biometric survey conducted by Panchkula MC concluded that of the total 3,718 registered street vendors in Panchkula, as many as 58.2 percents belong to Panchkula, amounting to 2,166, 13.5 percent (503) are residents of Haryana. While only 100 belong to Punjab, as many as 949 are from UT or are residents of other states.