A pack of milk and a small red stool

Monday, 23 September 2019

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Editorials

A pack of milk and a small red stool

Sidharth Bedi Varma | February 09, 2019 12:31 hrs


Are illegal vending zones back? A quick drive around town would clear this question. Often, the narrow lanes of Sarania and the wide lanes near the DGP office seem to be clogged with vendors occupying most of the area on the footpath. The administration seems to have sidelined the requirement for vending zones.

 

The importance of vending zones is clearly underrated. According to a figure published recently, there are over 12,000 street vendors (and counting) swarming the city, engaged in various activities. Places like Ulubari, Lal Ganesh, Chandmari, Beltola and so on are witnessing a huge increase in the number of vendors, not to forget that there is also a nexus in allotting these spaces.

 

While there have been claims of several assessments being done, there seems to be no progress in creation of actual infrastructure.

 

There are two observations in addressing these challenges. First, vendors occupy the space without supervision; setting up shop in a free-for-all format. Secondly, while the administration (from time to time) carries out eviction drives, an eviction is only allowed if a vendor is allotted an alternative vending zone.

The necessity of a vending zone is much higher than that of AC bus stops that have popped up. The rooms were ill-designed and the resource would have been better invested on concrete vending zones.

All a vendor in the city needs today is 2 X 2 ft of space, a red plastic stool and packets of milk or a tarpaulin sheet with vegetables, and he becomes an inconvenience for the city.

 

If vending zones are identified and allotted, not only are you encouraging and enabling small businesses, you also avoid designing a state budget that gives less freebies and handouts. Also, small vendors are forced to make substantial financial investments to “landlords” as a one-time fee and have to cough up their scheduled hafta. The GMC might as well shut down this nexus in the process.

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