Vendors agitation intensifies; three hurt in scuffle

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IMPHAL, April 29: The agitation against the state cabinet decision to replace the street vendors from around the Khwairamband Keithel to Lamphel only got murkier today with seven women vendor associations forming a collective front to fight against the cabinet decision.

The joint co ordinating committee was formed with members from seven organizations which include Khwairamband Bazar Vendor Nupi Yaipha Lup, Nagamapal Ema Sintha Lup, Khwairamband Ema Keithel Phambi Singi Hak Kanba Luba, Ngari Yonbi Association, Thangal Bazar Muslim Women Group, Khangabok Women Street Vendors Imphal and Road side Vendor Welfare Association.

Questioning the rationality behind the government decision of shifting the vendors to an outlandish and eccentric place like the lamphel supermarket, the women vendors today stated that sending them to the Lamphel supermarket would be suicidal for them.

They further added that in case the government is adamant on sending them to Lamphel then there would be no other way for them than to indulge in immoral activities and black marketeering in order to survive and support their families.

Members of the newly formed committee has also decried the recent declaration of the state government of constructing a parking lot at the site of the temporary market shed after dismantling it, even though the Chief Minister had himself declared earlier that the basement of the three newly built Ema keithels will be utilized as parking lots.

Referring to it the vendors also mocked the government by questioning who will be using the empty basement of the three ema keithels as their private godown.

Members of the committee further declared that JNIMS had taken the PDA supermarket Porompat after its total failure and the Lamphel supermarket is also a failure.

And in such a scenario the vendors cannot shift to Lamphel supermarket, they further retorted.

Further expressing themselves, the vendors declared that there are no proper infrastructures around the area like proper road connectivity and proper market sheds for their businesses to survive.

The committee further warned that they are preparing to fight the government decision with the help of Model Street Vendor (protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending Bill, 2009) and National Policy on Urban Street Vendor, 2009 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, government of India.

Further briefing on their line of action, representatives of the committee further declared that they will be organizing a silent protest at the temporary market shed from tomorrow from morning till 3 pm in the evening.

Meanwhile the newly formed committee had tried to organize a rally around Imphal city this afternoon; however Police intervened and dispersed the women vendors by firing tear gas shells. The ensuing milieu led to the injury of three vendors and another collapsing due to personal health problems.

Meanwhile it may be mentioned that the street vendors had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister on April 27.

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