Hawkers march towards Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Monday. (Prashant Mitra)
Capital vendors took to the streets on Monday to demand identity cards from Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) in accordance with a bill passed in the Lok Sabha in September and a Supreme Court directive issued the same month.
More than 2,000 hawkers gathered under the banner of Ranchi Footpath Dookandar Sangh and took out a procession from Zilla School. The rally made its way through Albert Ekka Chowk, Sarjana Chowk, Shaheed Chowk and Kutchery Chowk before culminating near Raj Bhavan. A seven-member delegation, led by Sangh president Deepak Singh, vice-president Shaquil Ahmed and general secretary Anita Das, also submitted a memorandum at Raj Bhavan.
“The apex court had directed the states to register names of vendors and issue them identity cards to run their business smoothly. But, the civic body has done nothing so far,” said Das.
On September 6, Lok Sabha passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012. The bill provides for security and protection of livelihood of all street vendors, who have valid vending certificates issued by town vending committees.
On September 12, the Supreme Court also restrained the authorities concerned from taking action against vendors.
Deputy chief executive officer of RMC Shailendra Kumar Lal, however, said the agitation was redundant. “Taking out a procession is a waste of time. RMC has completed the survey and the number of valid vendors in the city stands at 3,900,” he added.
Lal went on to say that identity cards would be issued from January.
“By March, all will get their cards,” he added.
Sangh vice-president Ahmed contested Lal’s claims, adding: “RMC carried out survey only between Kutchery Chowk and the overbridge. Our survey reveals there are 20,000 vendors across the city.”
Asked about it, Lal said the civic body would take the help of a local NGO to verify the statistics. “The NGO will start working by December 15 and give the report within 20 days. After the NGO submits its findings, it will be given the task to ready the identity cards.”