Monday, July 19, 2010

Business as usual after BBMP action against encroachments

Business as usual after BBMP action against encroachments

Chitra V. Ramani
Give us proper facilities, say vendors; we'll remove encroachments: BBMP
— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

BRISK BUSINESS:Vendors resumed selling vegetables and fruits on the footpaths of Gandhi Bazaar in Bangalore on Sunday.
Bangalore: Fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers of all hues and sizes are arranged neatly by vendors on the pavement on Gandhi Bazaar Road to attract the residents of the nearby localities. A day after the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials removed some encroachments on the stretch it was business as usual at this traditional market on Sunday.

When the BBMP officials showed up to remove encroachments, the over 200 vendors cried themselves hoarse. They claimed that they had not been given any notice nor had the civic authority provided them any alternative space.

“The officials came out of the blue with earthmovers and began removing the structures. I had bought flowers worth Rs. 6,000 yesterday and flowers worth around Rs. 4,000 were damaged,” said Srinivas, a flower vendor.

Seethamma, another vendor, said that she lost her wares, including incense sticks, camphor packets, betel leaves and nuts. “Some of the wares were on the road. But it was not obstructing either parking or vehicular movement. Yet, the officials came and just removed the items, dumped them in a lorry and took them away. I tried to salvage as much as I could. I have been vending here for the past 40 years and have never faced this situation,” she said.

Hanumanthappa, a vegetable vendor, who has been selling vegetables at this market for the past 20 years, said that though a few vendors pay rent for the shops allotted to them in the BBMP's flower and vegetable market, nobody conducts business there. “The shops have no basic facilities. It is dingy and does not have any security either. We continue to pay Rs. 150 towards rent every month,” he said.

He said that the BBMP officials promised to relocate them once the new market is constructed. “We are constantly worried about when we will be evicted. If they give us proper facilities in the new market, we are willing to relocate,” said Channamma, a flower vendor.

C. Balakrishna, state coordinator, National Association of Street Vendors of India, objected to Commissioner Siddaiah's move to evict vendors from footpaths and roads. Mr. Siddaiah, however, maintained that the purpose of roads and footpaths cannot be diluted. “Where will the pedestrians walk if the footpath is occupied by vendors? There is clamour for obstruction-free roads and footpaths. The BBMP will go strong on removing encroachments on footpaths and roads,” he said.

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