The Utha Dokani Byabasayee Sangha (Street vendors’ association) organised a massive protest in front of the office of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) alleging irregularities in the allotment of stalls in vending zones in the capital city.
The members of the association under the aegis of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) gheraoed the civic body’s office demanding allotment of stalls to them in accordance with the directive of the Orissa High Court.
They alleged that BMC is evicting the street vendors in the name of development from various places in the city, but in lieu not rehabilitating them by providing them stalls in smart city vending zone. The vending zones are being allotted to influential persons, the association alleged.
“We had moved the Orissa High Court after losing faith on the BMC. The court had observed that as the BMC recognised us as street vendors, issued us identity cards, provided Fani and Covid relief, we are entitled to get stalls in the vending zone,” said Sura Jena, president of Bhubaneswar Utha Dokani Byabasayee Sangha.
“We are not against the development, but how the vendors who had been earning their livelihood by doing business on pull carts on the footpath will survive now if they are not given stalls. They do not have any degree, but have the ability to maintain their family. Their issues should be resolved,” he added.
The outfit members alleged that there are around 28,000 street vendors of which only 25 to 30 vendors have been allotted stalls in the smart city vending zone. They threatened to gherao the office of the smart city if their issues are not resolved at the earliest.