Puducherry Diary: Against Eviction of Street Vendors

As soon as Kiran Bedi assumed office of the Lt. Governor of Puducherry she issued orders for eviction of street vendors in Puducherry and Karaikal towns in the name of beautification which if fact meant to further expand ‘only elite’ urban spaces in the union territory. This decision has invoked much resentment among street vendors and other small business communities. In solidarity with agitating street vendors the AICCTU took out a demonstration on 23rd June 2016. The protest emphasised on the point that the street vendors are not the encroachers in a city, instead Big shops and Mall owned by riches are the real encroachers. The demonstration was held in the main thoroughfares of the town and led by the State AICCTU secretary S. Purushothaman, Clifton D’ Rozario, Karnataka General Secretary AICCTU, and S. Balasubramanian, National VP of AICCTU.

The other main demands raised in the protest were: to sanction Rs.10,000/- to all rain and flood affected street vendors in the last year’s heavy rains and waiver of loans; to upgrade unorganized workers welfare society to Welfare Board; Implement Right to Education Act to benefit all street vendors and closed industries’ workers; Implement Rs. 7500/- as pension to unorganized workers; Allocation of 1% welfare fund to street vendors the Municipalities budget; Free power upto 100 units to all street vendors; Drop the proposal of ‘No vendors Zone’ in the main through fares; Provide free godowns, Toilets, drinking water and rest rooms to all street vendors; Implement strictly the Plastic bags ban and plant tree saplings in all streets; Take stringent actions against officials who misbehave (Municipal, Police) with street vendors; Provide basic amenities to Sunday Market vendors.