Footpath vendors with their children take out a protest march in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Around 6,000 hawkers took out a solidarity rally in the capital on Thursday for hundreds of those who had been evicted from Ranchi Main Road, demanding for them permanent vending zones in a new location.
The hawkers, under the aegis of Ranchi Zila Footpath Dukandar Hawker Sangh (RZFDHS), an affiliate of National Hawkers' Federation (NHF), started their 2km rally from Zilla School grounds around 12.15pm and ended at Raj Bhavan about 1.15pm.
They were protesting against Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) for evicting hawkers from Main Road on April 16 following a Jharkhand High Court order.
A delegation of hawkers comprising general secretary of the NHF Shaktiman Ghosh and five representatives of RZFDHS went to chief minister's secretariat on Kanke Road and submitted their charter of demands. The delegation conveyed its demands to Manohar Marandi, joint secretary at the secretariat.
"The RMC wants to settle us temporarily but we want a permanent arrangement. Our footpath bandh today (Thursday) was supported by all street vendors across the civic area. We demanded two proper places in the city for those displaced from Main Road," said Deepak Singh, president of Ranchi Footpath Dukandaar Hawker Sangh.
The hawkers have demanded a part of Zilla School grounds adjacent to Shashtri Market and a space around Ranchi University boundary for their relocation.
"Both areas will accommodate around the 600 hawkers removed from Main Road," said Anita Das, general secretary of Ranchi Footpath Hawkers' Association.
NHF general secretary Ghosh said Marandi assured them of arranging a meet between hawkers and chief minister Raghubar Das. "It will be best if the chief minister listens to us in person. We will wait for the opportunity" he added.
The hawkers also said they would wait for the chief minister's intervention before drawing up their next action plan.
Traffic on Main Road, Kutchery Chowk and Circular Road was affected from 12.30pm to 1pm due to the rally. But, timely intervention by traffic police cleared the snarls.