Hawkers who were removed from Nehru Road near Chowrasta in Darjeeling were rehabilitated along the Hill Cart Road on Monday. They can now set up temporary stalls at the Motor Stand area in the heart of the town after 5pm. A total of 40 stalls will be allowed for the time being.
Last year, Darjeeling Municipality had removed hawkers selling tea, momo, puchka, chowmein, balloons and ice-cream from Nehru Road. Stalls of nearly 180 hawkers, who had temporary stalls near Chowrasta and Mall Road, were pulled down. The civic authorities on Monday allowed 40 of them to relocate. The others will be rehabilitated as well, a source said. Before they were removed, hawkers on Nehru Road kept shops open from 4pm to 9pm every day.
Those who were evicted from Nehru Road last year had termed the move “illegal”. They claimed that under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2016, there is no provision for eviction and protection of livelihood is a priority. They decided to open the shops again from 4pm. Following the stir, civic authorities held a number of meetings to reach an amicable solution.
“We are thankful to the administration for allowing us to reopen shops after months. Hawkers had to go through a harrowing time since it was a matter of their livelihood. Now we have been allocated a place and we no longer must remain in fear that we will be removed,” said Darjeeling District Hawkers Union president Kundan Dewan. The vendors, who had been removed, were members of the union. The union had later sought intervention of the National Hawkers Federation (NHF) which had attended the meetings with the civic authorities.
“They have been allowed to open their stalls — only after 5pm — on humanitarian basis. We have also kept a condition that they should keep the area clean,” said an official with the municipality. Hawkers have been asked to collect garbage after business hours and dump it in huge moveable dustbin provided by the civic body.
Source: Times of India