NASVI: Recent Evictions of Street Vendors by GMC Made Without Any Notice

Guwahati: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) on Wednesday was the target of a sit-in protest organised by the National Association of Street Sellers of India (NASVI) and the Street Vendors Association of Assam (ASVA) to demand immediate protection for street vendors.

The protesting groups claimed that the GMC’s recent evictions of street vendors, which were carried out without providing them with a 30-day notice period, and relocation put their livelihoods in danger because they depend solely on daily income. They also claimed that the seized goods were not returned, in violation of sections 3(3), 18(3), and 19 of the 2014 Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Vending Zones Act).

As many as 300 street sellers were reportedly kicked from the walkways along GS Road by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) in January for allegedly occupying the space without permission.

“We are afraid that this may create a loophole in the strong motive towards the livelihood protection of street vendors in the city i.e. 1- Delay in Survey and Provision of Vending Certificates 2- Non Formation and Allocation of Vending Zones 3-Delay in disbursement of PM Svanidhi Loan 4- Regular Harassment of Street vendors from GMC, Police Department etc and other Departments,” said Dilip Hazarika, working president ASVA.

There are around 28 evicted and vandalized markets in the city and they are G.S. Road Market, Barbari Market, Bashistha Charali Market, S.S. Road Market, A.G. Market of Beltola Tinali, Bamunimaidam Market, Bhetapara Market, City health hospital Market, Bhangagarh Market, ESIC Hospital Market, Lalmati Market, Ganeshguri Market, Sarusajai Market, Ganesh Mandir Market, Garam Bazar Market, Bharalumukh Market, Lakhara Market, Machkhowa Bazar, ISBT Market, Khanapara Market, Boragaon Market, Six-mile market, Beltola Market, Adabari Market, Jalukbari Market, Maligaon Market, Bhootnath Market, Sarabbhati market.

NASVI and ASVA encouraged the GMC to expedite the survey without abandoning any markets or vendors in the upcoming three months and to issue Certificates of Vending to all vendors, regardless of their assigned status.

It also urged to stop evicting street vendors while survey is on.

Both the national and state governments asserted that they were not in a position to harshly criticise the street sellers because they had failed miserably to restore and rehabilitate them.

“We demand for rehabilitation of every street vendor in the city, also vending zones for women with 30% reservation to SCs and ST women,” added Hazarika.

He also said that the smart city projects and recent developments on Assam Tourism should not exclude street vendors. “Street vending in an integral part of tourism and urbanisation, hence, they need to seen as potential human resource,” Hazarika told.

He also sought the installation of free restrooms and a drinking water facility for the public and street vendors.

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