Rahul Gandhi today promised to a group of street vendors that grievances of the community will be addressed and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde will meet them “directly” to listen and settle the problems being faced by them.
The delegation from Chandni Chowk area met the Congress vice president to thank him for the passage of the Street Vendors Bill. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2014 which Lok Sabha had cleared on September 6 was passed by Rajya Sabha on February 19 this year. It provides for protection of livelihood rights and social security of street vendors.
The one-hour long interaction took place at Gandhi’s residence here after an earlier programme ‘Rehri Patri Chaupal’ scheduled in Chandni Chowk in the morning was cancelled.
Gandhi’s idea to reach out to street vendors in Chandni Chowk area to understand their issues and plight could not take off as the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), which was organising the event, objected to the restrictions imposed by security agencies and Delhi police authorities.
The objections came as attempts were made to evict some street vendors on Friday night, for “sanitising” the area, the sources said.
Later, when the street vendors met Gandhi, they vented their ire against it. The street vendors also complained to Gandhi that despite the passage of the bill to protect their rights, they face daily harassment.
Gandhi assured them that he will ensure that the Home Minister talks to them directly on their grievances and do the needful, the sources said.
Sources also said that Gandhi’s office also tried to reach Shinde, who is in Maharahstra now.
Meanwhile, a release from the Congress vice president’s office said that street vendors from Chandni Chowk, India Gate and Vasant Kunj expressed hope that after the passage of the Street Vendors Bill, the administration will not “bother” them and they will be able to live without the fear of their livelihood being snatched from them.
“Gandhi told the vendors that more than him, the credit for passage of the bill goes to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He told them that after passage of the bill, the street vendors will get their identity and rights and will also be able to get loans from banks on cheap rates,” the release said.
Gandhi also assured the vendors that his party will ensure that bill is implemented properly.