G20 meet: Over 10k hawkers face eviction in Vizag

Visakhapatnam: Over 10,000 hawkers are facing eviction here in the run-up to the international events like the G-20 meeting being hosted by the city in March.

Around two lakh people are eking out their living via some 50,000 odd hawking units spread over a long stretch from Anakapalli to Bhimili.

Without referring to G-20, the GVMC officials with the help of traffic police and ward secretariat staff have begun exerting pressure on hawkers to move away from the footpaths and re-launch themselves in spots proposed by the civic body by way of alternative locations.

The proposed sites for hawkers are set along the interior roads away from the main roads -- and far from where the actual trading takes place, say the grim-faced vendors.

“There are the muri-mixture hawkers, the pushcart vendors, the cycle-borne vendors and the DWCRA members. These hawkers have been registered with the civic body and carry with them identity cards. They paid a tax ranging from `250 to `5,000 per annum,’’ said the state general secretary of the AP hawkers welfare association, Teddu Venkateswara Rao.

He said the hawkers are being pushed around repeatedly for one reason or the other. First it was the Hudhud cyclone that shattered the lives of the hawkers, followed by some partnership summits, the Covid-19 and now G-20. “Hawkers are an eyesore to the officials though they were considered as part of the ‘service’ sector by the Supreme Court,” Venkateswara Rao said.

Initially, GVMC asked the hawkers to wind up their business on the main roads till March end. In protest, they held a huge dharna on February 2. Civic officials came forward for negotiations, Rao said.

City CPIM secretary RSVK Kumar said the Supreme Court had ordered that the hawkers could continue their trade in their existing places till the municipal authorities created hawking zones on the advice of town vending committees. So far only one zone was created in the entire city at Maddilapalem junction, he said.

He said that during the last three years, around 2,000 shops were removed or demolished in the city in the name of security or illegal encroachments. The hawkers at Andhra University, Rushikonda, Dwarakanagar flyover etc were affected. Most of them are yet to restart their business, he said.

“We are not evicting the hawkers. We are asking them to give way to pedestrians by vacating footpaths and relocate to other areas that we suggest. The process is on,’’ explained GVMC commissioner P. Raja.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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