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Street vendors not happy with space

Shivyoshita Sood | Chandigarh |

The demarcation of space for street vendors in Sector 17 has received a mixed response from these vendors.

On one hand, these vendors – who used to operate illegally till now – appear relieved from facing the action by civic authorities, on the other hand, most of them are finding it difficult to pay the monthly license fee of Rs 2,000.

A 28-year-old vendor, Monica, who sells belts in Sector 17, said the monthly fee of Rs 2,000 is too much for her to pay every month as they don’t get business on a regular basis.

“Some days I don’t sell even one belt. And now that we have been allotted area to set up our stalls we cannot move our stall even when it’s raining or the sun is at its peak. We suffer a lot of losses due to that. It is not possible for me to pay Rs 2,000 every month,” she said.

Another vendor Suresh, who sells bags for women in Sector 17, said he is facing similar problems. “It is difficult for me to pay Rs 2,000 every month especially during summers because of lack of customers (when customers prefer air-conditioned shopping malls over Sector 17),” he said.

A 35-year-old artificial jewellery seller, Rakesh said it was easier for them to do their business when they were functioning illegally.

“Before the demarcation of space for us, we had to run away with our stuff whenever the authorities took action against us. But it was hardly a problem for us as the word used to spread and we used to know they are coming.

And even when they caught us we only had to pay Rs 200 to Rs 300 as fine for the challan. It used to happen only twice or thrice a month. So we never paid more than Rs 1,000 a month for getting our stuff back, which is half the amount we are paying now. It is really difficult to pay Rs 2,000 every month,” he said.

A mother of two school going daughters, Manju (45) said she is finding it difficult to pay the license fee along with the school fees. “After all the other expenses I cannot spare Rs 2,000 every month. I think we all feel that the amount should be reduced to Rs 1,000,” she said.

The Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) has divided vendors into two categories — essential service providers who sell tea, eggs, repair cycles, sell newspapers and the non-essential service providers who sell clothes, accessories, belts, etc.

The essential service providers have to pay a fee of Rs 1,500 whereas the non-essential service providers have to pay a fees of Rs 2,000.