Eviction of Vendors across Guwahati Draws Mixed Response from Citizens
GUWAHATI: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) along with the city police and other district authorities are conducting eviction drives across the city in an effort to remove the illegal vendors, as they are one of the major causes of traffic congestion in Guwahati.
The drives have been conducted as per directives of a division bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia, in response to the PIL (72/2016) filed by Rita Das Mozumdar in the Gauhati High Court to ease traffic congestion in the city arising out of haphazard parking, ill-management of traffic, unscientific traffic control, illegal street vendors etc.
In this regard, GMC has evicted the vendors from Fancy Bazar, Nehru Park, Bhangaghar opposite Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) amongst others.
Talking to G Plus, Naren Rajbongshi, President of Assam Street Vendors’ Association (ASVA) said, “The authorities have evicted both legal as well as illegal vendors. The legal vendors are those that are included in the survey conducted by GMC in 2015 that had a total of 7183 vendors in the list. These people should have been provided proper establishment, instead even they were evicted as well.”
Debajit Senapati, working president of ASVA, who also has a shop opposite GMCH said, “When we were evicted in 2017, we had registered a case (Case No. I.A.(Civil).1878/2017) with regard to the eviction in the Gauhati High Court. The Court had asked GMC to settle the dispute before 23rd January 2020 and allot settlement to eleven vendors. We have met the Commissioner of GMC but there seems to be no progress although we had been assured. Now that the same court has passed an order to evict vendors, they have forced us out of our livelihood without any consideration for the earlier ruling.”
Earlier, GMC Commissioner, Debeswar Malakar, had informed G Plus that they could have proceeded with the settlement of the vendors in Bhangagarh, but are awaiting the NOC from the DC’s office as the vending zone falls under ‘Protected Area’ which has not yet been received. As such GMC was unable to proceed with the work.
Most people have applauded the work of the civil authorities in this regard that have eased the city’s traffic to a great extend. However, some students of Cotton College have stood against the authorities when the vendors opposite their college were evicted.
Trinayan Baruah, State President of AGP Students’ Union, who has supported the vendors during the eviction said, “I along with two other students of our college have voiced our concern with the authorities and we won’t let them evict the vendors from this area. They mostly cater to the needs of the students at very low prices. So, removing them would be highly inconvenient for us as well. We don’t have issues with evicting the ones that are illegal or are selling rotten food, but the others have no other means of livelihood.
They should not be evicted and the authorities should also talk to the students about our requirements.”
He further said that many students have supported them in this regard.
However, Rahul Bordoloi, general secretary of Cotton University Students’ Union said, “The union is not involved in this but we are aware that many students have raised concern in this matter.”