Beau­ti­ful Bhubaneswar

Down to Earth - - ANALYSIS -

When Apara­jita Sarangi took charge as the mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in 2006, she saw the city's streets were full of filth and garbage left be­hind by street ven­dors, es­pe­cially the food ven­dors. She ini­ti­ated antien­croach­ment drives and got the ven­dors re­moved from the streets. Within a week, the ven­dors were back in business. She or­dered seizure of their prod­ucts, but this did not yield re­sult ei­ther. "I could see my­self fail­ing in giv­ing the city some­thing as ba­sic as clean­li­ness," she says. "I was fu­ri­ous and told the as­so­ci­a­tion of Bhubaneswar Street Ven­dors to evac­u­ate the streets." Their re­ply was an eye-opener. They said the street ven­dors will re­turn each time they are re­moved. For, it is a means of their liveli­hood. "They will not budge," the as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers said.

After this be­gan sev­eral rounds of meet­ings. Fi­nally, an ad­ver­tis­ing company came up with a so­lu­tion. It promised to build shel­ters mea­sur­ing 8x8 and 10x10 feet for ven­dors. In re­turn it asked for ad­ver­tis­ing rights.

"We de­cided to take an area­wise ap­proach in­stead of mak­ing it a city-based cam­paign. We short­listed the ar­eas and found 2,200 street ven­dors op­er­at­ing on the main roads. They were is­sued iden­tity cards and li­cences. I spoke to the ad­min­is­tra­tion and ar­ranged for land on lease. Cab­ins were built for the ven­dors, which cost be­tween ` 18,000 and ` 20,000. The ad­ver­tis­ing agency con­trib­uted ` 10,000 while the rest was paid by the street ven­dor.

The street food ven­dors were trained in hy­giene and clean­li­ness. Dust­bins were in­stalled near their cab­ins. If the area was found dirty, penalty of ` 50 was charged from the ven­dors. So they would sprin­kle wa­ter twice a day to keep the area dust-free.


Neatly built cab­ins for street-food ven­dors have ended traf­fic chaos in Bhubaneswar

Apara­jita Sarangi, for­mer mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner, Bhubaneswar

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