The Delhi government has ordered civic bodies to halt eviction of vendors, rehabilitate those displaced without following due norms, and carry out a city-wide survey under the Street Vendors Act, 2014.
It is learnt that the government has told municipal corporations that the recent Supreme Court order on removal of encroachments from footpaths “does not relate to vendors”, and no official can authorise any eviction citing it.
The directions were issued on September 23 to the commissioners of the three MCDs, chairman of NDMC and the Delhi Cantonment Board in a meeting held in the presence of Principal Secretary (Urban Development) and advisor to Chief Minister, Gopal Mohan.
“Representatives of the corporations were intimated in clear terms that no vendor shall be evicted from his place of vending. In case of inevitable circumstances, he will be rehabilitated as per police guidelines, according to which he has to be rehabilitated in the nearest vending zone… It was also decided that vendors who have been evicted in the past years following court orders should be included in the survey and considered for rehabilitation,” official documents state.
CM Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference Tuesday said the first-of-its-kind city-wide survey is set to begin with the government notifying 28 town vending committees (TVC) under the Street Vendors Act, 2014. The survey aims to find the total number of vendors in the city, and is the first step towards regularising them.
The TVCs, which have representatives from vendors, market associations, MCDs, police, town planners and RWAs, have been asked to meet within a week and undertake the surveys.
Kejriwal said the registration of vendors will be done during the survey process and those having valid documents will be issued certificates of vending within a week.
The committees were notified last week. Kejriwal said the survey will include all markets in the capital, including the Darya Ganj weekly book market which had to be shifted following a Delhi High Court order on removal of markets at Netaji Subhash Marg.
Although the 2014 Act mandated creation of TVCs, the process faced a series of hurdles in the form of litigations. “We had begun the process of forming the committees right after taking office. We had formed the rules and scheme under the Act. However, the court was moved and rules were quashed. So we had do it again,” Kejriwal said.
The rules and the scheme, which were to be mandated under the Act, were notified by the government in 2016 and April 2019 respectively.
According to official records, the government had notified 27 committees in September 2018 as well. However, these didn’t withstand judicial scrutiny for not having adequate number of street vendors on board.
“There was a need to bring vendors under the umbrella of law. They have to face extortions. They are forced to pay bribes. Since they are not organised, in many places they unwittingly cause traffic jams,” Kejriwal said.