New Delhi, Oct 18, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) While the chunk of them are expected to return only after the festival of Diwali and Chhath, street vendors are nevertheless making their way back to the capital after being banished during the Commonwealth Games, an NGO here said.
Ranjit Abhigyan of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) said: ‘Most of the street vendors and slum dwellers – around 70 percent of them – in Delhi and the neighbouring region who were evicted during the Games, had gone back home. They mostly hail from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.’
‘While some of them have started trickling back, most of them are expected to come back only after the festivals of Chhath and Diwali. In any case, the migrant labourers go home during these festivals. This time they had to go back earlier,’ Abhigyan told IANS.
Diwali will be celebrated Nov 5 while Chhath will be celebrated six days after that.
He, however, does not think that all the vendors would return to Delhi.
‘People are beginning to realise that street vending is not a very viable means of livelihood. Although Durga Puja has just come to an end and Diwali is another two weeks away, the fact remains that they will still have to deal with the municipal corporation people and the cops,’ Abhigyan said.
‘This is why a number of vendors are now planning to go to states like Punjab and work as agricultural labourers,’ he added.
According to Abhigyan, more than 2.5 lakh people – including street vendors, slum dwellers and cart pullers – were hit because of restrictions during the Games. In addition, nearly 10 lakh people, including office goers, students and the lower middle class segment were affected by the curbs.
‘In Delhi University, most students depend on the tiffinwalas or dabbawalas for their meals. During the Games, they were affected. Office goers who depend on vendors for an economical meal were also affected,’ he said.