Street vendors ‘disappointed’ over relaxation to IT firms, not for them


Team Udayavani, Apr 23, 2020, 7:00 PM IST

Bengaluru: The federation of street vendors associations in the city on Thursday expressed disappointment over the Karnataka government not allowing them to carry on their business, while permitting IT companies to operate partially.

Pointing out that street vendors were hit hard due to the lockdown, it demanded that they be given a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 to help them resume business and manage their food expenses.

“Disappointing that IT companies are allowed to open partially, but not street vending. Street Vendors can play a positive role in post COVID recovery, ready to support government,” the federation said in a release.

Noting that there were lakhs of street vendors on the streets of the state capital, who have been badly impacted due to the lockdown, it said we are on the 30th day of the shutdown, and 90 per cent of the vendors have been unable to make a living as they would during normal circumstances.

The Yediyurappa government has partially relaxed COVID-19 lockdown norms in the state from Thursday and said, IT and IT enabled Services will be allowed to operate with essential minimum staff only, while rest will work from home.

“If we do not sell our wares, we cannot sustain our families. There is no one who will pay us if we cannot carry out our vending,” President of Bengaluru Jilla Beedhi Vyapari Sanghatanegala Okkuta (the federation) S Babu said.

In fact, street vendors do not enjoy the benefits of social security measures of the state either, which makes it difficult for them to sustain themselves and their families, he said.

With no income, paying rent and electricity bills is also becoming a challenge, he added.

Claiming that some street vendors have been allowed to sell fruits and vegetables, but these numbers are few, the federation said all major vendor markets are closed.

Demanding that all roadside vendors be given a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 to help resume business and allow them to manage food expenses, it said, all of them be permitted to vend with physical distancing, in grounds or other spaces, and to provide a dry ration kit that will last till end of May.

Noting that the civic body was providing assistance to only those vendors with identity cards, the federation said efforts must be taken to extend the benefit to all existing vendors.

Also, vendors should be involved on a regular basis in community kitchens set up to serve migrant workers, allow them to register for door-to-door delivery of essentials.

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