Himansu Shekhar Rout

Resentment is reportedly brewing among makeshift roadside vendors, who were evicted for the Srimandir Parikrama project in Puri, as their rehabilitation is allegedly getting delayed. 

A day after staging a demonstration on the Bada Danda (Grand Road) demanding quick rehabilitation, hundreds of street vendors took out a massive rally at the Puri Collector’s office on Saturday. 

They submitted a memorandum to the district administration on their demands. Though they were assured of rehabilitation in two months, construction of vending zones has not started yet, they alleged.

According to the agitating vendors, they were evicted from the Bada Danda in the first week of December 2023, and the administration promised to rehabilitate them in vending zones from the Pilgrim centre to Shree Setu in two months. With only a few days left to the two-month deadline, there is no sight of the commencement of work. 

An agitator said, “Assistance of Rs 15,000 from the government will not meet our requirements. We need Rs 1000 a day to manage our expenses. We demand the rehabilitation of all the evicted people alongside the Bada Danda. If we are rehabilitated elsewhere, our shops will cease to run.”

“The cooperation we extended for the project was priced at Rs 15,000. This assistance was provided to us for two months. Nothing is being done. Neither vending zones are set up nor kiosks have been provided,” another agitating vendor fumed. 

Also Read: Makeshift vendors evicted from Puri Grand Road demand rehabilitation; Puri MLA extends support 

Siding with the evicted vendors, Puri MLA Jayant Sarangi said, “We demand rehabilitation of the street vendors as it is a matter of their livelihood. They had been doing business along the Bada Danda for a long time. Let’s have a discussion with their leaders. If they are happy, we are happy. The administration has assured that the issue will be sorted out in seven days.”

Puri Collector, Samarth Verma said, “The R&R package is ready for the evicted vendors.  Financial assistance was provided to them in installments. Vending zones are being built for them and will be ready soon. We will have a meeting with the vendors and rehabilitation of all the evicted vendors will be done.”

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