Around 300 vendors have been asked to move by police owing to traffic congestion.

Forced to pack up Secunderabads street vendors struggle to earn a living
news Business Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 18:53

Once bustling with activity, the streets leading to Secunderabad Railway Station are empty. Street vendors, who made a living near the crowded station are missing.  

“The traffic police have been harassing us, they are not allowing us to put up our shops here,” says Mohammad Riyaz, a street vendor, who sells footwear.

Every morning at 10am, Riyaz would set up a small table stacked with inexpensive footwear. But for the last few days, he has been forced to sit at home, even as he stresses about how he is going to pay his mounting bills.  

Like Riyaz, there are 300 street vendors, who have been asked to pack up. Left with no option, they are now looking for alternative jobs.  

“Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials told us earlier that they will provide us with ID cards after a survey on street vendors in the city. They also told us that until the survey is completed, no one will ask us to move from here. But then suddenly a few days ago, the traffic police came and said, ‘We have orders from higher ups that we have to clear the place’,” notes Mohammad Sajid, Secretary of Telangana Street Vendor Association.

Sajid says that based on the new system, the GHMC has mapped out zones, where business is permitted. While a green zone will allow vendors to sell their goods, a yellow zone will permit them to sell only on a prescribed day or time. No activity will be permitted in the red zone.

(Now the footpath are empty as the vendors are not allowed to put up shops)

However, he alleges that vendors who were carrying out their business in the green and yellow zone near the railway station were also asked to remove their stalls.

“The area has not yet been declared under any zone. Though they were allowed to carry out business for a few hours, due to increasing traffic congestion we had to ask them to shut down their stalls,” explains AV Ranganath, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

“We tried contacting the municipality, but they are not responding. Our livelihood is at stake now. For the last four days, there is no income for us,” Sajid says helplessly.

The vendors claimed that several street vendors in Secunderabad are from rural parts of Telangana and have no other means to earn a living.

“I am from Sangareddy district, however, I moved here nearly 20 years ago. Since then I have been putting up stalls. We weren’t earning as much as we did a few years ago, but it was still some money. Now with no income, I had to borrow money from a friend to feed my family,” says Syed Pasha, a street vendor who used to sell kids clothes.

Few vendors still attempt to sell items from the railway station but pack up the moment they spot police officials.  

“Yesterday, I took some of the toys in a bag and stood at the footpath to sell because if the police see my stall, they will again harass me. After standing for nearly four hours, one customer approached me. But the police intervened and said, ‘He will put us in jail’,” says Basheer Sheik, a street vendor.

Besides having to take care of an ailing mother, Basheer says he needs to also pay the wholesale vendor for the toys he had bought.

“We take products on credit, and after we earn money by selling that we pay them, but now what will I do, how will I pay him?” Basheer asks.  

However, DCP Ranganathan says that vendors can put up stalls in small by-lanes as Secunderabad Railway Station area is one of busiest road.

“We are getting a lot of reports that due to the vendors, the traffic police is finding it difficult to handle the congestion. That’s why we cannot allow them to put up shops there. We have asked GHMC to specify which all areas come under the green zone. If we get orders, we will allow the vendors again,” he notes.

 

 

 

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