City residents can look forward to relishing delicacies from 42 food vans stationed at Happy Street from evening to dawn by the end of this month. The street, a revamped version of Khau-Gali, the legacy food street of Law Garden, is expected to come alive by then.
The AMC has issued letter of intent (LoI) for the 33 food vans for which they received bids, of the total 42 food vans that are planned to be placed over a stretch of approximately 250 to 300 metres.
Assistant municipal commissioner of West Zone, Rahul Shah, said, “Once LoI is issued, they are expected to submit the earnest deposit money (EMD) and complete other formalities. In case it is not done, a re-tender will take place. For the nine other vans, a fresh tender was notified on December 27.” The tenders are scheduled to close on January 13.
Municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra confirmed that the food street would open by the end of January as the civil work was ready and the food vans were being designed. The vans have been licensed under three grades — 31 big food vans, nine small food vans and two small food vans. The nine vans in the fresh tender are part of 31 big food vans.
In February this year, two petitions were filed at the Gujarat High Court, challenging the eviction of traditional street vendors who had been operating their business at Khau Gali for decades.
One of the petitions with 12 petitioners primarily challenged “the illegal and high-handed action of the State of Gujarat and others on August 1, 2018 in the removal of 36 larries/stalls and structures, belonging to the petitioners”, calling the street vendors’ removal a “blatant and flagrant breach of the provisions of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014”.
The petition was disposed of in July after the AMC agreed that it would give preference to the petitioners and other similar vendors if they offered bids similar to other highest bidders. Shah said, “Six of the 33 confirmed bids so far include those who used to operate their stalls at the location earlier.”
A contention raised during the hearing was the fact that the petitioners were operating big businesses and did not come under the purview or definition of “street vendors” as they had claimed. However, the petitioners submitted that they were representing the smaller vendors and their loss of livelihood through the AMC’s eviction move, through their petition. The HC completed hearing and arguments in November in another petition moved by 63 such vendors of Khau Gali and reserved judgment.
Municipal commissioner Nehra says, “Earlier, too, the stalls that were part of the Khau Gali, were being run by the big businesses who would sublet it to smaller vendors.” For ‘Happy Street’, AMC plans to keep a differential parking pay structure. Nehra said, “The idea is to encourage people to walk and incentivise off-street parking.”
When the food vans are operational in the evenings, only half the parking space will be available as food vans would be parked in the area, according to Rahul Shah. “We have received the standing committee approval for three grades of parking facility. A premium parking for those parking right opposite to the food vans, which will have a limited parking space. Say another, 100 metres away, we’ll keep parking at normal rates and even farther, there will be the facility of free parking. Parking for electric vehicles will be half the usual rate. We are currently working with the traffic police to come up with a traffic control plan,” he said.
Deputy estate officer of west zone, Chaitanya Shah, said that the halved premium charges for paid and premium parking shifts for electric vehicles was made in a bid to encourage pollution reducing electric vehicles.
Charged premium parking facility will be available from 4 pm to 5 am opposite the wagons. “As the turnover is expected to be high, and is always churning, we have ensured sufficient parking for all shifts of the day. Free parking will be available from 5 am to 8.30 am, paid parking during office hours from 8.30 am to 4pm and premium parking from 4pm to 5 am,” added Rahul Shah.
He added, “We have enriched the historical value of the place and beautification is in process, keeping in mind Ahmedabad’s iconic identity, with Teen Darwaaza inspired walls made of Jaipuri patthar. Infrastructure has been levelled up with electric poles to equip cooking.” Neighbouring food hawkers said their sales dipped since the demolition and were hoping for good times.
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