Rahul meets Delhi street vendors

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday met street vendors in Raghubir Nagar in west Delhi and listened to their grievances.

He also asked party workers to fight for the rights of the street vendors, including for getting them licences to ply their trades.

“The vendors called me to complain about lack of proper facilities. The poor workers have not been given proper space in the city,” Gandhi said after meeting the hawkers.

Gandhi, accompanied by Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Maken and Congress in-charge of party affairs in Delhi P.C. Chacko, went around the makeshift cramped sheds from where the vendors do their business.

“I have heard their grievances and will take it up with the authorities,” said Gandhi.

Maken said Rahul Gandhi was instrumental in the passage of Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2014, which aims to regulate street vending and protect the rights of urban street vendors.

The act also protects the street vendors from harassment by police and civic authorities, besides providing them with protection of livelihood rights and social security.

The leaders of Gujarati Vaghri community, whose members are mainly into street vending in the area, said some 4,000 vendors ply their business from the cramped spaces in Raghubir Nagar. They sought more space and better amenities.

Addressing a press conference later, Maken accused the Aam Admi Party government in Delhi of not properly implementing the law aimed at protection of street vendors.

“The AAP made a promise to bring a law for street vendors but has not done it. It is not even implementing the existing law. The people whom we met today (Monday) told us that they have to pay bribes (to carry out their businesses),” Maken said.

He said the Street Vendors Act provides for giving vending licences to two-and-half percent population of a city.

“In Delhi, five lakh people can get this licence, but not a single person has got it so far. Our effort will be to get these people the licences,” he said.

“If this many people get licences, it will directly benefit 14 percent of the population,” Maken said.

Maken said the act provides for creation of a town vending committee with representatives of street vendors and residents’ welfare associations, traffic police and traders association.

He said Gandhi has asked party workers to take up issue of street vendors in a big way.

“We will fight this battle by taking to the streets,” Maken said.

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