MAKING WAY FOR STREET VENDORS
Centre legalises street vending and gives the profession its due respect. But accommodating vendors is a challenge
Discounted by city planners, street vendors will now get their own space as per a new law
IT WAS late 1970s. Each time Mahavir’s uncle from Delhi visited his house in Ferozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, the teenager would listen with rapt attention stories of glitzy city life. It did not take Mahavir too long to pack his bags, leave his parents’ home and reach the capital city in search of a job.“I managed to start working with a street-food vendor. Within two years I had saved enough to buy my own rehri, or handcart. It’s been 30 years since. Every day, I place my rehri on the footpath at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and sell chaat,” he says.“The ` 10,000 that I earn every month is enough to feed my wife and three children. With the earning I managed to give my children education. They have now grown up and are capable of earning a livelihood.”
Mahavir’s chaat is a favourite among foodies. “But my customers also accuse me of crowding up the footpath. They say rehriwalas encroach their walking space and create traffic chaos, ”he says.
“Street vendors are, no doubt, a big nuisance. They park their handcarts wherever they want to and create traffic jams, ”says Suresh Rajput, traffic constable with Delhi Traffic Police. “First one vendor places his handcart on the road. Gradually, within a week a small market appears around it.”
David Jacob, an icici employee at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi, complains that street vendors park their handcarts right in front of the bank. “Our customers complain that they never get space to park their vehicles.We asked the police to intervene several times, but to
PHOTOGRAPHS: VIKAS CHOUDHARY / CSE Most of the street vendors in India sell food