The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) plans to launch a State-wide protest if the issue of unauthorised street vending is not addressed at the earliest. At a protest against large-scale unauthorised street vending at West Hill here on Tuesday, KVVES district secretary K. Sethumadhavan said the vendors were monopolising streets in all parts of the State without trade licence or complying with the COVID-19 protocol while licensed vendors were bound to follow rules.
The protest and the subsequent march from West Hill to Pavangad led to a minor tiff between the merchants and the police, which was brought under control after District Collector Seeram Sambasiva Rao intervened. “The authorities assured us that efforts would be made for an amicable solution to the issue through a meeting in which the representatives of street vendors will also take part,” said Mr. Sethumadhavan.
He said West Hill was a “street supermarket” where vending carts occupied both sides of the road. Besides being a threat to licensed vendors, they also caused major traffic congestion on the stretch.
Unauthorised street vending mushroomed in all parts of the State after the lockdown. It turned out to be a means of survival for many who were rendered jobless due to the COVID-19-related restrictions. The authorities too turned a blind eye towards them on humanitarian grounds. However, the trend continued even months after most of the restrictions were lifted. “These people are misusing our generosity. We were silent so far as we sympathised with the jobless,” said Mr. Sethumadhavan.
He said the Samithi’s State-level meeting on Sunday would decide on future actions and the merchants under the Samithi would take to the streets if the issue was not solved at the earliest.