Bengaluru: Street vendors in the city continue to encroach TenderSure roads and block footpaths for pedestrians. The TenderSure roads, which were built to provide pedestrian-friendly footpaths, have been encroached upon in most parts of the city’s Central Business District.
“We don’t have any separate place to do business. We also do not have a fixed income. The BBMP said they would give us separate place and licence, which we have not got till now,” said Ramesh, a street vendor on M.G. Road. Another street vendor at Residency Road, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I heard a friend mention about some licence, but I have no idea about it or any survey. And we are not really disturbing anyone. We do some small business in a corner. Why do they have problem with that?”. Despite repeated orders about street vending, there is little awareness among vendors.
The High Court on July, 2014 issued directions to BBMP to remove all the unauthorized encroachments, constructions and obstructions either temporary or permanent on the existing footpaths under Section 288-D of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.
It also stated that the chief engineer of respective zones shall be responsible to carry out the above activities in accordance with law, and ensure maintenance of the footpaths in a clean, clear and encroachment-free condition for smooth pedestrian traffic.
This was not the first time that the court issued such directions to Palike, the same was done in July, 2013 as well. According to the Street Vendor (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, street vending is legal and anyone can vend; unless the corporation conducts a survey and issues identity card to them, but no one can be evicted.
BBMP Chief Engineer and in-charge for TenderSure projects K.T. Nagaraj said, “We have removed almost all the encroachments and told street vendors not to obstruct paths for pedestrians on the TenderSure roads. We have to identify and designate place for street vendors; unless we do that encroachments will keep happening.” To deal with the issue, the High Court on January 17 asked BBMP to distribute ID cards by February end to surveyed vendors, in order to have specified vendor zones in the city. If there is any delay in the process then the officers in-charge will have to pay Rs 1,000 each day for delay. “We are on it and the process of distributing ID cards to street vendors will be completed soon,” added K.T. Nagaraj.
Noted architect Naresh Narasimhan said, “We need to have a clear policy and rule stating who these vendors are and who are enforcing it and other specifications. This thing has to be made temporary and make sure they won’t stay overnight in the same place. Unless they do that, this will continue. As of now there is no rule, no policy, nothing really.”