Monday, 30th October 2017

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Illegal vendors trade at Jamshedpur’s busiest market as police watch

Grease palms to call shots at bargain haven

By Kumud Jenamani in Jamshedpur
  • Published 10.06.19, 12:09 AM
  • Updated 10.06.19, 12:09 AM
  • 2 mins read
Vendors add to the congestion at Sakchi market in Jamshedpur on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

If you go to Sakchi market, chances are you will come out with a sore elbow or a nasty knock. Pavements and roads are chock-full of illegal vendors selling everything from fast food to phone accessories as the police turn a blind eye.

According to an informal estimate made by this reporter, there are around 700 pavement hawkers and over 200 push cart vendors, all unauthorised, congesting the already crowded Sakchi market.

Tapas Kumar Ray of Parsudih, a shopper who had come to Sakchi on Saturday, said he had never faced such crowds on a normal day. “This isn’t anytime near Durga Puja and Diwali but the roads were choked,” he said. “That’s when I realised pavements had been taken over by hawkers, some even spilling over to roads. As this is a bargainer’s paradise, shoppers come knowing the vendors are unauthorised.”

This reporter, who went to Sakchi market for three evenings in a row till Saturday, saw policemen doing rounds of the market but not taking action to clear the encroachers.

Insiders at Sakchi market said hawkers paid a fixed sum to policemen from Kashidih thana outpost, under Sakchi police station, who were deputed in the market. “Even a child knows hawkers pay the police a fixed sum to stay in peace,” said a man who did not want to be identified.

A vendor, who agreed to speak after much hesitation, said: “Separate clusters of footpath vendors ensure money is collected religiously and paid to the policeman or policemen concerned on time. Unauthorised vendors feel as long as they pay money to the police, the latter won’t touch them. There is no system of licensed hawkers here. You either have a licensed shop or you are an illegal vendor.”

Sakchi market was cleared of vendors in October 2015 by then Dhalbhum subdivisional officer (SDO) Alok Kumar. His successor Suraj Kumar had even created a parking zone for two- and four-wheelers to ensure the market stayed encroachment-free. The situation went back to square one when Suraj Kumar was promoted as deputy development commissioner in 2017 and his successor Madhvi Mishra, an apparently strict SDO, did little to keep the Sakchi market free of encroachers.

The current SDO Chandan Kumar was “easygoing”, a hawker at Sakchi said. The SDO could not be contacted.

East Singhbhum DC Amit Kumar said he would take steps to ensure unauthorised vendors were evicted from Sakchi. “I will hold a meeting with the Dhalbhum SDO and JNAC special officer on this issue soon,” he said.