Street vendors to launch intense agitation in demand of vending space

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IMPHAL, June 6: The Khwairamband Keithel Lambi Mataida Potpham Phambi Lup (KKLMPPL) organized a joint meeting along with leaders of CSOs at the Manipur Press Club here today and resolved to launch intense agitation if the government do not consider their demands by June 15, 2013.

Speaking at the meeting on the situation being faced by street vendors, one of the participating street vendors Mayengbam Inaobi said policemen destroy their wares saying that it is the order of the government.

“As a result we could not feed and send our children for tuitions”, she lamented.

Speaking at the occasion, S Sumati, secretary All Manipur Students’ Guardians’ Organisation (AMSGO) said the government instead of bringing a solution to the issue take action against the street vendors. She urged the street vendors to teach the government a big lesson in the coming MP election.

The government only uses the poor people in the times of elections with ‘use and throw’ tag, she said.

Instead of implementing a policy program for long lasting and peaceful place for street vendors, police personnel are ordered to chase them away, she added.

Rishikanta Yumnam, General secretary National Identity Protection Committee who spoke at the meeting said the movement of the street vendors is a right step.

It is heart-breaking to see police personnel chasing away street vendors like cattle while the non-local vendors are not chased away.  A strong movement is necessary to teach the government a lesson, he continued.

During the meeting, Subita Mangsatabam, Secretary Women’s Action for Development stressed that even animals have wildlife protection act whereas the street vendors of the state are beaten and chased away like animals.

The 60 MLAs need to minutely discuss the issue, and immediately stop the harassment meted out to the street vendors, he said.

Street vendors are human beings and they are not in the market to buy jewellery or beautiful clothes but out to earn some money and run their families, feed and send their children to school, she added.

She then asked if there is any hidden agenda of the government that it is not willing to give the empty space of the three markets to the street vendors.  The bureaucrats and the government should arrange a suitable place and a street vendor policy like that implemented in other states for the street vendors sooner, she continued.

The three women MLAs should take the matter into consideration and arrange a suitable place for the vendors, otherwise a 3rd Nupi Lal would arise, Sobita continued.

Phulindro Konsam, chairman Committee on Human Rights stressed that the government must respect the right to life of the people and give them the materials needed to live a life of dignity. The present state government is strongly condemnable as instead of protecting the street vendors, it is more concerned with harassing them and destroying their wares, he continued.

Another street vendor Lalita said the policemen are given birth by we the mothers and when they harass us they are harassing their own mothers. Such act of theirs show that they are not decent human beings.

The 60 MLAs especially the three women should consider the hardships of the street vendors and fulfil their rightful demands sooner, she appealed.

The resolutions taken during the meeting included appealing to the government to adopt the National policy on urban street vendor 2009 in the state soon, and to allow street vendors to occupy the empty spaces of the three women markets by June 15, 2013.

The government would also be appealed to allow the vendors to sell their wares from 5 am to 12 noon from June 7, 2013, and the resolution copy will be submitted to the Governor of Manipur and the Chief Minister and appealed to discuss the issue in the coming Assembly session, the resolutions added.

KKLMPPL warned to launch intense agitations along with the CSOs if the government do not concert the resolutions into action and discussed in the Assembly session to bring a solution to relieve the hardships of the street vendors in the state. The representatives of the CSOs present in the meeting today have assured to support the movement of the street vendors.

Thokchom Ramani, General secretary Nupi Samaj; S Momon, president Tami Chingmi Apunba Nupi Lup; RK Brajakishor, ex-president Senior Citizens for Society; and N Chaoba Singh, working president AMSGO also spoke at the occasion.

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