IMPHAL May 2: A free for all ensued today at Lamphel supermarket as local women grabbed the vending space meant for street vendors who were shifted from the Khwairamband keithel.
The Chief Minister O Ibobi and ministers of the cabinet recently took a decision to shift the Khwairamband women street vendors at Lamphel which was met with stiff opposition from the women vendors.
The decision was taken in effect for the streets of Imphal bazaar area to remain less crowded and to stop illegal parking of vehicles in the busy market areas.
In regard to the cabinet decision, many street vendors shifted to the Lamphel marketplace today. The vendors are allotted license by the Imphal Municipal Council for vending spaces at the area. However, when the women were seen shifting to the marketplace, women from the surrounding areas thronged to the site to occupy any available vending space. It was observed that the women thronging to the area were not licensed vendors but just wanted to occupy a `space`™.
The market also lacked luster as the women in their bid to gain a vending space put up just some vegetable just for the show, and many other unconventional items were also for put up for sale like cold drinks, yams which grow alongside the nearby drains and empty sheets spread out without anyone attending.
Ibemhal, a vegetable who shifted from Nagamapal roadside said, `We are here to sell our wares so that we can feed our children, these women with dyed hair and gold ornaments cannot meet the rigors of selling items in the harsh weather conditions, besides their efforts will be wasted because they are not allocated the vending site legally by the IMC, it`™s almost pathetic`, she said with a cynicism.
It was later reported that scuffles took place at the supermarket area between licensed vendor and local women regarding the reservation of vending spaces.
Meanwhile, police arrested 7 women of the Khwairamband Keithel Street Vendors Coordinating Committee for refusing to shift to the Lamphel site today. The arrested persons are identified as Moirangthem Bina, 38, Soibam Bilashini, 60, Gulaplei, 45, Irom Matouleibi, 40, Khundrakpam Mema, 50, L Ibeyaima, 38 and Sorokhaibam Bidya, 45.
The Imphal Municipal Council also issued a notification that any vendors found selling wares by the roadside will be arrested under the law from today onwards.