Protect our right to life, says women street vendors

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Imphal: Women street vendors who vend at Khwairamband Ima Keithel streets in Imphal city have raised their voice to protect their right to life after Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) issued notice allowing them to vend at the Temporary Market in two different shifts.

Khwairamband Keithel Street Vendors’ Welfare Union (KSVWU) alleged that vendors under them were restricted from vending at the Temporary Market by the police and two vendors association.

The vendors union demanded justice to chief minister N. Biren Singh, MAHUD minister Y. Khemchand and drew the attention of civil society organisations to protect their livelihood.

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“We were chased out using violence means by the police and vendors under two associations, when we try to vend at the Temporary Market as per the notification issued by the IMC on October 16,” president of KSVWU L. Beda while talking to reporters at Manipur Press Club, here on Friday.

As per the IMC’s notification, street vendors were permitted to sell at the Temporary Market in two daily shifts (morning 6 am to 12 noon and evening 1pm to 7pm) on first come first serve basis, Beda said.

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If both the shifts are counted, there is a total of 2,800 seats as the capacity of the Temporary Market is 1,400 seats. Unfortunately the police made the same vendors (only under two specific associations) to squat during the shifts. The two associations are Road Side Street Vendors’ Association led by one Tamang and Panthoibi Street Vendors’ Association led by one Joymati, she added.

KSVWU which has a total of 330 members is a registered association under the IMC, she said. Such biased acts of the state police and IMC is an act of snatching the rights of the street vendors who are genuinely earning their livelihoods on a daily basis, the vendor leader said.

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“We are not allowed to sell neither on the street nor at the Temporary Market. How will we run our family?” she questioned.

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