Sharmili Mallick

With the dates of the Panchayat elections likely to be declared in the next few days, the BJD-led Odisha government on Friday announced direct cash benefits for around 1.1 lakh street vendors across 114 towns in the State.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the special Covid-19 assistance of Rs 3,000 each for street vendors through video conferencing today.

Launching the cash benefit for the street vendors, CM Naveen said, “I am very happy to announce financial assistance of Rs 3,000 each for street vendors across the State. Over 1 lakh street vendors across 114 towns in the State will be benefitted with the assistance.”

Stating that the street vendors had received Rs 6,000 each in two phases in March 2020 and June 2021, the CM added that the aim of the financial assistance is to secure the livelihood of the street vendors.

“The street vendors play an important part in the economy of a city. There are shopping malls and big shops in towns but the street vendors are and will remain a vital part of the city,” emphasised the CM.

“Covid-19 pandemic has affected everybody’s livelihood and I can feel your pain. The government is always with you and therefore, it has decided to set up vending zones in 87 urban areas with an estimated expenditure of Rs 60 crore,” announced Patnaik.

Appealing the street vendors to be cautious during the ongoing pandemic, the CM said, “The fear of Covid is not over yet and therefore, the street vendors should be more alert. I appeal all of you to follow Covid guidelines strictly and be safe,” Patnaik added.

Earlier on Thursday, Patnaik had announced special Covid assistance for newspaper hawkers in the State. Under the scheme, each registered hawker will get an assistance of Rs 6,000 which will benefit around 7000 registered hawkers across the State.