The Director-General office of the Urban Local Bodies sent out letters to the municipal corporations of Haryana instructing the commissioners, city magistrates and executive officers of all municipalities of the state to implement the Street Vendors Act in their regions with immediate effect. The letter specifically read that no street vendors are to be evicted, therefore causing loss
“Provision of the Street Vendors Act must be complied with in order to enable the street vendors to earn their livelihood in a dignified manner. Section 3(3) of the Act states no street vendor shall be evicted or relocated till the survey has been completed and certificate of vending is issued,” read the letter. It further pointed out that under sections 18 & 19 of Chapter IV of the Act, “The relocation and eviction of street vendors must be done after serving a notice for vacating the space, seizure/ reclaiming of goods.”
The letter comes at a time when the Municipal Corporation of Panchkula has went on to postpone the draw of lots for the third time in a month now. The vendors were evicted from their spots beginning late November. The then MC Commissioner, Rajesh Jogpal, had said before the Punjab and Haryana High court had in October, 2019 that the corporation is not touching any street vendor who does not fall in the exception carved out in the stand taken previously before the court. In the previous stand, the corporation had undertaken that, “none of the street vendors shall be uprooted, unless they park their vehicles/rehris for carrying on their business at a place which is a parking area or hinders traffic and pedestrian movement.”
The street vendors have been staging protests in front of the MC office demanding to know why they were evicted before the street vendor policy was brought in.
Even though, according to the stand taken by the MC in court, only the ones blocking public spaces and parkings had to be evicted, the municipal corporation taking swift action has now impounded rehris of many while officials work round-the-clock to prevent any others to put their carts. During a press conference lasst week, MLA and Haryana Vidhan Sabha had said, “We will take out a draw on January 28 and give everyone possessions by February 1. We are keeping municipal corporation people on duty till 8 pm to keep a check on the vendors. I will ask the corporation to extend the time to 10 pm to further stop those that after 8.”
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in December, had declined to interfere with the ongoing action against street vendors in Panchkula, observing that they have to go in case they are blocking the traffic or are stationed in parking spaces.
In another letter issued by the office of Director of Urban local Bodies (ULB) in May 2019, the office had stated that they received a letter from the Ministry of Housing and urban Affairs, New Delhi where in the ministry had received a representation from the street vendors on the issue of eviction and had asked the ULB to look into it. The letter by the ULB, taking cognizance of the several cases going on in various districts of the state, had read, “a large number of cases are on-going in various courts of law which have been filed by street vendors and most of them pertain to forced evictions which are not in conformity with the provisions laid down by Street Vendors Act of 2014.” The rules which specifically prohibit the MC to evict them before allotting them spaces had also been listed.
It has been more than two months, since MC Panchkula going against the rules mandated by the Street Vendors Act, had started evicting the street vendors and impounding their stuff.
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