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Delhi: Street Vendors Submit Memo Against Forceful Eviction by MCD Ahead of G20 Meet

Neelam Gaur |
In preparation of the upcoming summit, city officials have been pushing out ‘Rehri Patri’ hawkers without offering them alternatives.
Delhi: Street Vendors Submit Memo Against Forceful Eviction by MCD Ahead of G20 Meet

Representational Image. Image Courtesy:  Pixabay

New Delhi: Ahead of the G20 Summit in September this year, street vendors across the national capital have been witnessing forceful eviction from their workplaces by the enforcement cell of the municipal corporation. A protest against this was held in front of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (North)on Friday.

A large number of vendors from the northern part of the capital, such as GTB Nagar, Vishwavidyalaya and Vijay Nagar, had gathered for the protest. However, it was quickly put down by Delhi Police officials who alleged that the District Commissioner had rejected permission for the protest. The protest was organised by the Centre of Indian Trade Union’s (CITU) Delhi Pradesh Rehri Patri Khomcha Hawkers’ unit. However, a memorandum with key demands of the hawkers was submitted to the Assistant Commissioner by the Union.

Enforcement officials had instructed some of them operating at GTB Gate one and Gate two of the Metro station to pack up their business from March 15. A similar instance took place at GTB Nagar, where the vendors were asked to refrain from setting up their ‘Rehri Patri’ (selling carts) from February 6 to 28, last month, says the memorandum.

Pawan Kumar, 40, one of the protesters, runs a mobile accessories shop at GTB Nagar where the MCD has taken rapid action to remove vendors. The action, reportedly being taken in the name of the G20 summit, has left him deeply disappointed.

“They have not provided us with any notice. There was no time to explain or complain. We do not even know why we are being thrown out. Later, we were told that this is happening because of the G20 summit. The government should provide some alternative for our livelihood”, Kumar told NewsClick.

The preparation for the forthcoming G20 summit has already started in the capital city even though September is six months away. This year, the summit will be hosting delegations from about 40 nations from September to December, as some non-G20 nations have also been invited. 

The preparations, however, have unleashed horror on some of the most vulnerable sections of the working people of Delhi. Along with removal of street vendors and hawkers, the government has also identified 260 sites as encroachments that need to be cleared before the summit to beautify the city for the international summit.

According to a senior government official quoted by The Hindu, “26 Delhi government departments and central agencies are working on the preparations for the summit.The public works department (PWD), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the NDMC will mainly be associated with civic infrastructure improvement and beautification work. It is estimated that the PWD, the MCD and the NDMC will spend ₹Rs 448 crore, ₹Rs 249 crore and ₹Rs 78 crore respectively on it”

Public good, however, is completely absent from the blueprint that has been presented by both the Delhi and the Central governments, alleged Shakeel Ahmed, general secretary of CITU’s Delhi Pradesh Rehri Patri Khomcha Hawkers Union. 

“The question is, if these people are being thrown out of their workplace, which other alternative has the government  provided to them. These all are self-employed people, they are not even asking the government for jobs. Let alone give people jobs, this government is snatching the employment of people who themselves have created it," he said.

Ahmed said this action was a violation of the Regulation of Street Vending Act, 2014, which stipulates that the government can only take action after a survey and creation of a separate area for these people to conduct their business.

According to some estimates, there are roughly three lakh street vendors in Delhi. As per MCD data, only 1. 25 lakh of them are legal, out of which 30% are women.

Meanwhile, the union said it was planning to organise a large protest against this action in the coming days.

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