Maharashtra Govt Tells Bombay HC That It Cannot Permit Street Vendors to Operate Yet

Maharashtra Govt Tells Bombay HC That It Cannot Permit Street Vendors to Operate Yet

Pune-based activist Manoj Oswal filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the Bombay High Court asking for a declaration that the restrictions imposed on street vendors pertaining to their food or other establishments be deemed unconstitutional and illegal. Under the current restrictions, street vendors or hawkers aren’t permitted to run their businesses even outside of containment zones.

In response, the State Government filed an affidavit with the Bombay High Court, stating - “This is particularly because, these sectors (street vending and hawking) fall under unorganised sectors and it is very difficult, if any and if at all, imposed for conducting such businesses.” The affidavit was filed on behal of the state by the Secretary of Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation Department, Kishor Nimbalkar. 

The response also stressed on the requirement of a large number of police officials and other civic staff to make sure these hawkers are complying with the guidelines set in place, reiterating that a majority of the workforce from the civic body and the police establishment are already engaged in COVID-19 duties.  

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The original petition by Oswal said the restrictions on street vendors are directly impacting their livelihoods as running small streetside joints happen to be their only source of income. The petition added that they will find some respite if allowed to reopen with reasonable restrictions. Meanwhile, the petitioner deemed the State’s decision to restrict the operations of street vendors as “extremely high handed and insensitive.” 

“The assumption that the street vendors can cause more Covid-19 infections than the store or shop owners is not supported by science or findings by any research,” the petition added. It’s worth mentioning that several large shops and establishments have been allowed to operate outside of containment zones in Mumbai. 

However, with enforcement being one of the biggest problems for civic and state authorities, a viable solution has to be found. At the moment, though, the State is in no mood to allow street vendors to operate again, regardless of whether they’re in containment zones or outside of it. 

Also Read - Eligible Street Vendors To Get Loan Up To ₹10,000 In Panvel

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