KR-Market street vendors await vending zones and licences

Bengaluru City

Cannot shift as  vending is their livelihood

Most street vendors in KR Market don’t have a street vending license, making it difficult for them to do business.

Easu, a street vendor, informed The Observer: “We are often asked to move away…, but as this is our only livelihood, we cannot move away from the market. We have been doing vending business for many years. We face roll calls every day. No official has visited us. Most street vendors are unaware of the licence and the PM Swanidhi scheme.”

Laxmi S, a vendor, said: “I depend on the money I get from this vending business. Very often, we are asked to remove our business. On Sundays, there is a huge crowd here, and the place gets filled with garbage. It will be helpful if there are proper vending zones. We should be allowed to do our business freely.”

“I heard about the street vending licence, but none of the officers has approached us. It will be helpful if we receive the licence and we can avail loan from the government,” said Rathnamma, a vegetable vendor.

Vending zones have not been allotted. Very few vendors have the vending licence issued in 2019 when the Town Vending Committee (TVC) was formed under the BBMP. The vendors have been sitting in a haphazard manner in the market, blocking roads and causing huge traffic congestions. 

Huge traffic congestion at KR.Market causing slow movement of crowd and vehicles. Credit: Hamsaveni. N

The vendors are often asked to move away from the place. Most of them are from poor or lower-middle class families, and vending is their only source of income.

According to The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, a Town Vending Committee (TVC) that is supposed to look after street vendors should be formed in every district under the Municipal Corporation. The committee should include the Municipal Commissioner or the Chief Executive Officer, members representing the local authority, the medical officer of the local authority, the planning authority, traffic police, police, association of street vendors, market associations, traders associations, NGOs, community organisations, resident welfare associations and banks.

As per the Act, the TVC should conduct regular surveys and issue vending licences to eligible vendors. The vending zones should be marked and spaces should be allotted to street vendors to carry out their business. The street vending licence also helps the vendors to avail loan under PM Swanidhi to develop and support their business.

Street Vendors await vending zones at KR.Market. Credit: Hamsaveni.N

A total of 1,800 street vending licences were issued in the survey conducted in 2019. The survey is required to be held every three years, but it has not taken place yet after 2019.

BBMP Joint Commissioner West SM Srinivasa informed The Observer that the TVC is planning to survey all the eight zones of Bengaluru together. “We are planning to change the current vending licence ID card to a smart card. The smart card will carry the information of the vendor along with GPS mapping, video and audio recording of the card holder (street vendor).”

“Most vendors… refuse to shift their vending places as they are vending at a particular place for a long period. We are currently searching for empty places to allocate street vending zones. A fresh survey will be conducted soon and licences will be issued to actual street vendors.”

C E. Rangaswami, president of the Karnataka Beedhi Badhi Vyapari Sangatanegala Okuta, said: “Street vendors are always neglected, but they are huge contributors to the country’s economy. The government and TVC have failed to look after street vendors and give them the required support. There is a lot of delay in passing appropriate orders and implementing them. We are constantly trying for developments to happen faster to ensure no street vendor suffers. The smart card will help the actual street vendors and eliminate those who misuse the licence.” 

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