Hawkers demand protocols to re-start livelihood activities

Shillong, Aug 26: The Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association (MGSPHSVA) said that protocols for hawkers to re-start their livelihood activities should be in place in the same manner as developed for re-opening of shops and malls.

“In the same way as protocols have been developed for opening of permanent shops and malls, a protocol for hawkers and street vendors of Meghalaya should also be developed. This should be done in collaboration with the association (MGSPHSVA),” the association said in a letter to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.

Stating that hawkers and street vendors are desperate and need to earn, the letter warned that “if this situation of suppressing the right to livelihood continues, the situation will explode into a humanitarian crisis and lawlessness.”

As part of its campaign to unlock the livelihood of hawkers and street vendors, the association said in all the traditional hawking and vending spaces in the natural markets as specified in the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, spaces and timings to be marked to ensure public health protection.

Hawkers are also amenable to alternative vending spaces, close to the natural markets, in the interim during the pandemic where they can ply their vending business. For example, Lum Survey, MTC workshop, OB Shoping Mall -MTC- Jail Road stretch, Laitumkhrah Parking Lot, Spaces near Police Point Laitumkhrah, Madan ïewrynghep etc.

“While unlocking economic activities of hawking in keeping with COVID related protocols, the longstanding genuine hawkers have to be given priority as they have no other alternative livelihood,” the association said while urging the government to develop the protocols as soon as possible, before the hunger and desperation of hawkers and street vendors forces an unregulated opening of their livelihood.

Till the time a proper protocol, identification of space and vendors is developed, the association suggested that three days in a week should be given to hawking and street vending while the other three days should be given to shops and malls.

Meanwhile, the association has also decided to organise a training programme for its members along with the National Hawkers Federation about COVID protocols for hawking and street vending.

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