Hyderabad: Street vendors at crossroads

Hyderabad: Street vendors at crossroads
Street vendors at crossroads

No Covid guidelines issued to them on how to go about their business

Hyderabad: The street vendors are a loss. With no guidelines coming forth, the 1.5 lakh street vendors and hawkers in Hyderabad are a worried lot.

Shops were allowed to reopen in Hyderabad on May 19 after the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department (MAUD) issued guidelines for shops to reopen on May 19 with the condition that shops next to each other would open on alternate days.

James John, the Greater Hyderabad general secretary of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), said, "Street vendors are badly hit. At many places you can see social distancing is not followed as there are no proper guidelines given to them to follow. There is still confusion on the ground as street vendors starting their business are wary that they may face action by the police."

According to the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), the civic authorities have asked all vendors to open shops from June 8 but till now they have not issued any guidelines.

Businesses take a nose dive With people hardly coming out, vendors near Secunderabad railway station are a worried lot. Syed Shaikh, a fruit seller at Secunderabad station who had to stay at home for the last two months due to lockdown, says, "Our business is from passengers from trains and buses. There is hardly anyone seen on the streets. People are still scared they might come in contact with the virus."

"People have started purchasing goods online. It has impacted our business big time.," he adds further. "Every day we come with lot of hope but business is not picking up," says Santaamma, another vendor at Secunderabad station in a concerned tone.

Not happy with centre's scheme

The Centre recently announced PM Street Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme to provide working capital loans of up to Rs 10,000 to street vendors. However, the vendors are not happy with the amount. "The committee asked the centre to allot each vendor at least Rs 25,000 as it will help them to clear their pending debts and start their business back," said James John.

"We also asked for ID cards for the remaining vendors who were beneficiaries of the schemes. There are over 1.5 lakh street vendors and hawkers in Hyderabad as per our estimates but only 25,450 people have got the ID cards issued to them as per data, available with the Telangana Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (TSMEPMA). Many who have applied long ago have been waiting for several months due to negligence by authorities," he concludes.

No concern for their plight

• There are no dedicated vending zones

• Law stipulates ID cards for vendors, which allows them to avail of schemes introduced for them.

• There are over 1.5 lakh street vendors and hawkers in Hyderabad as per estimates

• Till now only 25,000 vendors have proper cards rest are still waiting for theirs to come

• Vendors demand ID cards for all. They also seek Rs 25k each to start business and clear debts

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