GUWAHATI, Oct 20 - Due to delay in completion of official formalities, vendors of Guwahati still remain deprived of authorised vending zones and other facilities as mentioned in the relevant Act.
Office-bearers of the Street Vendors’ Association of Assam alleged that lack of proper coordination among line departments in surveying and issuing “No Objection Certificates” regarding allocation of vending zone, is the prime reason behind the delay.
Association president Naren Rajbongshi informed that around Rs 24 lakh remains unspent under the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) for development of vending zones in the city.
The fund that was allocated in 2016 for developing the infrastructure of vending zones in Guwahati, still remains unutilised as declaration of vending zones in the city is yet to be completed.
“During the recent meeting of the Town Vending Committee (TVC), Commissioner of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Monalisa Goswami had directed the officials concerned to carry out a survey in six proposed vending zones and sought an early report. But till now we have not seen any progress in this regard,” Rajbongshi alleged.
According to an official source, the GMC Commissioner had directed the survey to be carried out in the proposed vending zones located at Borbari, Kachari, Ganeshguri, Bhangagarh, Uzan Bazar and Silpukhuri. The source also said that the survey for the six sites is under way.
According to a survey carried out by a firm Scorpion in 2015 – as entrusted by the NULM – under the Street Vendors Act 2014, altogether 7,138 street vendors were enumerated within the GMC area. Sources however said there are more than 24,000 vendors carrying out business in various parts of the city, but all of them had not fulfilled the required criteria during the survey.
On the other hand, according to the Act, all street vendors who are identified in the survey should avail identity cards or certificates of vending.
The Act says, “Every street vendor, identified under the survey who has completed the age of fourteen years or such age as may be prescribed by the appropriate government, shall be issued a certificate of vending by the Town Vending Committee.”
But in Guwahati, work on issuing certificates is yet to be initiated. According to NULM officials the process will start once relocation of vendors in the notified vending zones is completed.
Earlier, in Guwahati altogether 58 locations were selected for setting up vending zones. Among those locations only the mezzanine floor of the GMC building at Fancy Bazar and the area under the Chandmari flyover have been declared as vending zones. The MG Road walking zone has been declared as a restricted vending zone every Sunday.
“In Guwahati, despite formation of the Town Vending Committee no work has been done for the welfare of vendors. The Vendors’ Act speaks about various facilities for vendors, but we have not availed anything,” Rajbongshi alleged.
Speaking on the issue, official sources said the GMC is planning to conduct training on food processing and waste management for street vendors under the skill development programme along with the financial inclusion scheme under which the GMC will help a street vendor with credit linkage and access to other financial help under various schemes.
It may be mentioned that, the ‘Street Vendors Act 2014, state compliance index 2017’, published by the Centre For Civil Society, says, “Assam though, made rules on February 26, 2016 after the expiry of statutory time-frame, but has not framed a scheme as yet. Assam has constituted TVCs without conducting elections. Surveys of street vendors are conducted but have no street-vending plan. The functionality of TVCs remains doubtful in such a scenario where there is no scheme.”