Over 500 street vendors, led by Congress MLA from Patan, Kirit Patel, on Friday took out a rally in Patan town shirtless, demanding that vendors removed from Junaganj Bazar and from Railway Station to Kansada Darwaza road be allowed to reoperate their businesses from their old places again or be allotted new spaces to earn their livelihood.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, the legislator said that the Patan Municipality about two months ago had taken a decision to remove encroachments from roadsides that cause inconvenience to the people and came as an obstacle to movement of traffic. He said that after the decision, the municipality was taken over by the BJP as some of the Congress councillors switched over to the BJP.
He said that the municipality president Mahendra Patel, while implementing the old decision, removed the vendors about a month ago while it did not touch the encroachment by builders. Moreover, the municipality also did not allot alternate spaces to the vendors so that they could earn their livelihood. He said that when he threatened to take out a rally and start agitation, the municipality president on Thursday said that the vendors would be allotted new spaces but he did not specify the places from where the vendors could do their businesses. The legislator on Friday threatened that he, along with the vendors, would be sitting on a fast from Monday if alternate places were not allotted by then.
When questioned, Patan Municipal Committee president Mahendra Patel said that the vendors were removed from the two roads because those were the busiest and caused regular traffic jam.
He said that he had permitted the vendors to operate from Gaurav Path and some other places but the vendors were not ready because they said that it was not the suitable place for them. They are insisting that they be brought back to the old places only. “But I will not allow them to operate from the old places because of traffic issues’’, said Mahendra Patel.