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Street vendors ask for use of roadsides only till Ningol Chakkouba, alternative site afterwards

IMPHAL, Oct 24: The agitating street vendors of Imphal’s Khwairamband market submitted a memorandum to the state chief minister this morning urging him to allow them to sell their goods at the roadsides upto the Ningol Chakkouba festival and arrange a suitable alternative site for them after the festival.The memorandum was submitted jointly by the secretary and joint secretary of the recently formed Street Vendors JAC Khwairamband Bazar to the chief minister through the chief minister’s secretary at the chief minister’s bungalow this morning.The memorandum to the chief minister mentioned that the affected people were poor street vendors who maintained their families by selling vegetables and other articles on the roadsides at the Imphal bazar area. Their families depended on their day-to-day earnings without which they would starve. In view of the ensuing Ningol Chakkouba festival, which is a big festival in Manipur, they had borrowed big amounts of money on interest from money-lenders in the hope of making profits from the sale of their goods. But now they were in a hopeless position after they were driven out from the roadsides. While asking for a sympathetic consideration of their plight they have requested the authorities to allow them to use the roadsides upto October 31 as they would face grave consequences if they are not able to dispose their goods before the festival ends.The memorandum also asked for a favourable decision on the matter by 12 noon tomorrow, failing which they would be compelled to resort to other undesireable methods.The same memorandum was also submitted to the chairperson of the IMC this afternoon by the JAC. In the meantime the JAC representatives are likely to meet chief minister O Ibobi tomorrow to discuss their demands, said JAC joint secretary Moirangthem Bina.Meanwhile, the eviction of street vendors from the Khwairamband bazar area has been brought to the notice of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) by the Friendship Center Manipur. A press release from the organization said that it is imperative to bring about a permanent solution to the issue instead of harassing women vendors and taking away their means to a livelihood. Stating that the inability of the state government to allocate a rightful place to the women vendors of Manipur who do not even add up to 1000 shows the lack of interest in the welfare of the people, the release further said that Article 19(1)g and Article 39 (a) and (b) of the Indian Constitution grants street vendors the right to life and livelihood which the sate government should take due note of.(IFP)

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