New Delhi: With a large number of hawkers being evicted from the city, especially near Commonwealth Games venue, several street vendors unions and other groups will hold a protest here on Thursday to highlight their plight and demand their proper resettlement after the event.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) said it along with some other organizations representing hawkers and human rights groups will stage a sit-in near Jantar Mantar here on that day.
The NASVI has been protesting the "arbitrary" eviction of hawkers and vendors by civic bodies ahead of the mega sporting event in Delhi. A large number of street vendors have been removed from various parts of the city, especially central Delhi and near Games venues.
NASVI programme coordinator Arbind Singh, however, claimed that the evictions were not as extensive as feared but said that all vendors near Games venues have been removed. "We will stage the protest to highlight their plight and demand that they should be properly resettled after the event is over," he said.
The group, which claims to have membership of over three lakh vendors in 20 states of the country, said it had a series of interactions with the MCD since March 2009 on settlement of street vendor issue in Delhi "but to no avail". NASVI members had staged a protest at the MCD headquarters here on June 1 accusing it of dilly-dallying in formulating a proper policy for urban street hawkers.
NASVI said rather than making the Games an excuse to "chase away" the vendors, MCD should make them participants in the process to make the sporting event a success. MCD officials said encroachment removal action have been initiated against those who are illegally occupying public land and except from authorised vendors, all roadside sellers will be removed. They said unlicensed hawkers are being removed in a routine manner.