The state government has said it will defy a Central directive that aims to bring in a legislation to protect the rights of vendors,but leaves railway vendors outside its purview.
On June 17,the Union Urban Development Ministry had sent the revised National Policy on Urban Street Vendors and Model Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Bill,2009) to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. While the
Centre urged the state governments to enact laws to protect the rights of street vendors and ensure their livelihood,it left vendors on railway premises out of the Bills purview.
And the state government saw red in the move. A conspiracy has been hatched to evict vendors from railway premises. Yesterday Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would build commercial complexes and shopping malls on vacant lands of railways. She must be planning for the eviction of vendors from the railway land, said State Urban Development
Minister Ashok Bhattacharya. He has already written to
Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja protesting against the Centres move.
He also said the state government would not abide by the Central directive. Our Act will definitely have railway vendors in its purview. I have written to Selja to include the land premises owned and controlled by the railways within the purview of the revised National Policy on Urban Street Vendors and the proposed Bill, Bhattacharya said.
He added that the state government has urged the Union railway ministry to give its surplus vacant land to the state government so that it can use the land for development purposes.
Around six months ago,I met the railway board officials and urged them to give us their surplus land and they told me to submit specific proposals. They gave us 30 acres of land at Siliguri,where we built a toy park and a dry port. Earlier,also they gave us land at Siliguri,where we built a bus stand, Bhattacharya said.
Railway officials,however,say they have a different policy for vendors. While licences are given for setting up kiosks on railway platforms,vending inside trains is illegal, an railway official said.