Bhopal: Traders observe day long protest against hawkers

BHOPAL: New Market Traders observed day long ‘bandh’ on Saturday in a protest against increasing encroachment by hawkers in the market in the festive season. Heavy police forces were deployed inside and outside the market to avoid any untoward incidences. However, the traders opened the shops after the administration assured to look into the matter.

Citizens heaved a sigh of relief after the conflict resolution, be it temporary, between the New Market Traders association and hawkers.

Even though the administration drove the hawkers out from market and seized the items, but after 3.00pm, they started setting their outlets at periphery of the market like Pink Parking site after paying fine.

Encroachment was bone of contention between traders and hawkers. The traders accused the unauthorized hawkers to create congestion in the market by occupying the main circulating areas.

From the hawkers’ front, there is no use of pink parking when there is already multilevel parking in New Market area. They alleged that the pink parking was only brought up drive the hawkers out from market. They demanded to rent out that space to them and assured the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) of paying the rent.

Secondly, hawkers who run their business from periphery territory do not pay a single penny to the traders. Few traders themselves rent out front space to vendors and charge a fixed amount on daily basis, but blame the periphery hawkers in any adverse cases.

New Market Traders association president Satish Gangrade said, “After assurance from administration, we called off our ‘bandh’ after 2.00pm. But again hawkers started setting their business at Pink Parking site. We will raise the issue with administration. Administration has assured us for permanent solution of problems. Police forces have been deployed in the market for safety and security of the customers. In this festive time, market happens to be crowded. Our main point is that we should provide a conductive atmosphere to the customers.”

Ajay Dewnani, general secretary of association, said, “Earlier, we had plan for indefinite bandh till our problem is resolved by the administration. Hawkers are permanent headache for the traders. Even customers hesitate in visiting the market. Encroachment has adverse impact on our business. But when administration assured us to look into matter, we called off bandh and opened our shops by 2.00pm. It is festival time, so customers should not face any problems so we kept it in mind and opened the shops.”

Ramgopal, hawker, said, “We simply run our business at pink parking lot. Within market, traders are responsible for encroachment. They rent out space to venders who do their business. We are at periphery of the market. But unnecessarily we are harassed in the name of encroachment as we do not pay anything to traders. In fact, traders rent out their front space to other vendors to run the business and daily basis and charge a fixed amount from vendors. ”

Raja, a hawker, said, “When there is already multilevel parking, there is no use of pink parking. In fact, pink parking has been developed just to marginalise the hawkers who earn livelihood from New Market without creating any disturbance to any traders. So instead of pink parking, we should be allotted space for business. We will earn livelihood and pay the rent. We will not enter the market. We run business from periphery territories but become soft target.”