TODAY -

The street women vendors in Imphal : The challenges and prospects
- Part 2 -

Grace Kamei *

Street Vendor shifted to Lamphel Super Market :: May 02 2011
Street Vendor shifted to Lamphel Super Market on May 02 2011 :: Pix - Hueiyen News



Recently, there is blocking of street vendors from Mao at Nagaland due to land dispute. Since there is no market place for Mao women vendors, the Government of Manipur made an alternative arrangement for them and the Government of Manipur gave permission to sell their products at Nagamapal near Senapati bus station.

Since there is increased number of street vendors from both hill and valley, the Government of Manipur has planned to construct a new tribal market shed at Imphal in order to boost the livelihood of tribal women street vendors though a particular place or area is not yet fixed. The initiative of the State Government is encouraging and the establishment of a separate tribal market shed like Ima Market in the main market areas of Imphal city will overcome the problems of tribal women vendors to a great extent.

Rights of street vendors

The street women vendors also make dirty in different ways. But these reasons are baseless because street vendors alone does not play the role of making road dirty and congested, rather depend a lot on the how it is manage. Municipality tax from vendors is to clean the road.

Whatever the reason we cannot evict street vendors from the roadside unless they are provided alternative because they also have their fundamental right. They are part of the economy, part of the society which we neither ignore their cause nor indifferent to them. Before the modern markets come they already had been with the markets.

The Article 19(1) (g) states that all citizens shall have the right to practice or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. Furthermore, the Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Property) states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

The above mentioned constitutional rights provide the protection of the street vendors but ignore by authorities which are in nearest to street vendors. Protection of their rights to livelihood is perhaps one of the most important issue over which struggles are being waged.

Issue and recommendation

The street women vendors including both licensed and non-licensed from Purana Bazaar, Lakshmi Market and New Market have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dated, 19th April, 2005 with Government of Manipur. The MoU states that a permanent structure comprising basement, ground floor and first floor will be built at the place of the markets.

The MoU also promises that the ground floor of the built structure will be given to the licensed vendors. There was also an understanding that the first floor will be given to the non-licensed vendors and the basement will be used for parking.

The markets were inaugurated on 12th November, 2010 by the Chairperson of UPA Government and the National Advisory Council, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. The licensed vendors were allotted any place on the ground floor of the women markets. The non-licensed vendors were no allotted any place in the newly built market buildings.

In spite of women markets laying vacant the vendors are forced to vend on the roadsides surroundings of the women markets. It is not disclosed why the first floor of the constructed market is not allotted for vending for the non-licensed vendors, here most of the non-licensed vendors are form hill district and Muslim, if done so it could dissolve the problem of street vendors.

Instead of this, government is investing money on construction of new markets at Lamphel which very far from the main Business District Zone. This new market place is meant for non-licensed vendors, and who got license are allotted in the main building, Ima Keithel (Bazaar), which is in the middle of the business zone, where all buyers come here itself.

This new market in Lamphel is the area where hardly buyers go there. Displacement of non-licensed vendor who have been vending in Ima Keithel for multiple years to such an area where there is no business establishment is not fair and it is against equal treatment of the vendors between licensed and non-licensed.

In addition, most of the non-licensed vendors are from Muslim and Christian communities (mostly tribal women) which are minority communities in Manipur. Whereas, majority of licensed vendors, administrator in Municipal Council and Police are dominantly of majority community, Meiteis. The current system of management looks discriminatory.

Because, not only the partial treatment of non-licensed vendors by Municipal Council but also badly treated by Police in which most of the victims are belonged to minority community who comes from far villages of hill districts. Because of the distance they come from, they are comparatively new chronologically in the market.

Thus, a matter of identity also came into the picture while making a sustainable solution for non-licensed street vendors. Altogether, for a sustainable solution a participatory and informed decision making should be backbone of policy and planning regarding the issue of street vendors.

Suggestions:

It is necessary to conduct a research on increase of street vendors' problems in Imphal city, and other related problems face by the women vendors. The government should take up a program or project for research work to use the analyzed data for future program policy.

Formation of strong women street vendors' organization or committee for both hill and valley is important to discuss the street vendors' problems, and to deal with other related issues.

Setting up a security fund for street vendors is necessary. The state Government should make a license for women street vendors so that these women can take a loan from concern department for their welfare. The state Government should provide proper space for vending which is suitable for all kinds of weather and there will be no harassment from the police and Municipal Council.

The state Government should also take up a role to find alternative arrangements for street vendors. The state government can only provide the solution for this problem of street vendors.

Concluded.....


* Grace Kamei wrote this review for The Sangai Express
Grace Kamei is working as research associate at NDC, Imphal.
This article was webcasted on June 13, 2016.



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