The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on Tuesday laid out detailed plans for the revamp of the erstwhile ‘Khau gali’ (food street) in Law Garden to transform it into ‘Happy Street’ but street food vendors evicted in August to make way the modern urban food street stand little chance of getting a spot.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Arjav Shah and Deputy Estate Officer Chaitanya told a press conference Wednesday that 42 food vans would be stationed on Happy Street from 6 pm to 1 am. “During the day, 402 two-wheelers and 61 four-wheelers can be parked in the area. During the night, once food vans are operating, 148 two-wheelers and 28 four-wheelers can be accommodated,” Shah said, adding that the project will cost Rs 5 crore. Happy Street is expected to open before the new year, he added.
Asked about evicted street vendors, Chaitanya said, “Only those who sell packaged food or say biscuits, can be called street vendors. They used to prepare and sell food and they can’t be called as street vendors.” When told that his definition was not what was described under The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, he said, “Yes, the Act doesn’t specifically state this but it is obvious.”
The AMC had told the Gujarat High Court, which was hearing a petition by 12 street vendors against the eviction, that it would give preference to the petitioners and other similar vendors if they offered bids similar to the highest bids. Based on this, the court disposed of the petition against the eviction. Another petition by 63 street vendors is pending.
Meanwhile, the 42 food vans have been licensed under three grades. While 31 big food vans will pay a licensing fee of Rs 90,000, nine small food vans will pay 30,000 and two smaller food vans will be licensed at Rs 20,000. AMC will charge a monthly fee of Rs 1,000 for the cost of cleaning.
The big vans will be liable to pay an Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 1 lakh while smaller vans will pay Rs 50,000.