Hasnain Masoodi, Member of Parliament and JKNC leader have in a statement expressed grief and shock overuse of unprecedented force by the SMC authorities against the street vendors at Srinagar.
Masoodi has stated that a reign of excessive force let loose by the SMC authorities against the street vendors on the streets of Srinagar on 28th January 2022 presented heart-wrenching scenes where a hawker was heard pleading with the authorities with tears rolling down his face that he was the father of four daughters and small merchandise that was being vandalised was the only source of sustenance for his family and similar requests made by others wailing and crying, watching their merchandise taken away.
The statement reminds the SMC authorities that in the preamble of the Constitution a pledge has been made to secure social and economic justice to one and all and the Constitution recognises the right to livelihood as an integral part of the right to life one of the key fundamental rights and by raiding in the winter chill, the segment of society outraged by ‘chill penury’ and vandalising their small merchandise, the authorities have grossly violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
The statement adds that joining celebrations, receiving felicitations and attending at home is not enough and the officers must imbibe the ethos and values of the Constitution. Masoodi has expressed shock and dismay over the sluggish implementation of Street Vendors of Livelihood and the Regularisation of Street Vending. Act is an important component of Smart City Mission and denial of benefits under the Act to the street vendors.
He has asked the authorities to find out as to how many Town Vending Committees ( TVC) have been constituted in Srinagar; whether a census or survey of all the Street Vendors has been made and what is their number, whether any and how many Certificates of Vending (CoV) have been issued till date, whether any or how many Letters of Recommendations (LoR) have been issued, whether any Grievance Redressal Committee ( GRC) has been constituted and last but not least whether any Street Vending Plan has been prepared and how many Street Vending Zones and Street Vending Markets have been set up.
The statement asks the authorities to find out the status of PM SVANidhi and the number of beneficiaries of the scheme in Srinagar. The use of force against the poor hawkers in name of decongesting markets cannot be used to cover up failures or sluggish implementation of important legislation, and a welfare scheme, it is stated. The Smart City Mission is implemented in SPV mode only to ensure that the administrative and corporate approaches are blended to enhance efficiency in implementation; that the statistics as regards pace of implementation of SMC Srinagar and Street Vendors Act are less than satisfactory, the statement adds.
Masoodi had requested the Lt. Governor to have an overview of the SCM and Street Vendors Act implementation and direct the authorities to speed up the implementation so that benefits are made available to the target group without delay. Masoodi has also demanded, that in the true spirit of the welfare State, compensation be directed to be paid to the affected street vendors in yesterday’s operation for the loss of or damage to merchandise.