Shillong: The Meghalaya Cabinet approved the draft of the Meghalaya Street Vendors Scheme 2023 on Wednesday, with a few observations and amendments. This scheme falls under the Central Act passed in 2014, known as the Street Vendors Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act of 2014. The rules for this act were framed by the state government in 2022.
As part of the process for framing these rules, a scheme called the Meghalaya Street Vendors Scheme 2023 was conceived, and this draft was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday. The government’s intention is to strike a balance between providing livelihoods to street vendors and addressing other equally important issues such as ensuring law and order, decongestion, and safety for pedestrians.
Cabinet Minister Paul Lyngdoh pointed out that in a recent fire incident on Thana Road in Police Bazar, street hawkers caused significant delays in the fire services’ response to contain the inferno. The scheme, approved, includes town vending committees to identify legal hawkers.
Several criteria have been laid down, including the possession of an EPIC (voter ID card) issued by the Election Commission of India, a certificate of at least three years’ residence in Meghalaya, vending in a particular spot for a minimum of six months, and holding a valid trade license in areas outside the control of the Shillong Municipal Board.
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The government received numerous suggestions from various stakeholders, including the KHADC, KSU, Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong, and hawker associations. After detailed discussions, the scheme has been finalised.
“Our next step is to immediately take up an inventorization. We will start with the survey of the street vendors and process the applications of these vendors based on the broad framework. We will also be taking up this special planning in order to decide which are vending and which are no vending zones and the government would also strive to provide dedicated vending zones and market spaces to the street vendors,” added the Cabinet minister.
The government expects this process to take two months, during which they will establish the registration process and decide on vending and non-vending areas.
When asked about the likely vending zones in Shillong, Lyngdoh explained that they will be based on a master plan and identified using specific criteria, ensuring that these zones do not impede traffic, pedestrian movement, or cause law and order issues.
According to government data, there are approximately 3,000-plus hawkers in and around the city.
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