Meghalaya hawkers

Shillong: Street vendors in Meghalaya celebrated their victory following the Meghalaya High Court’s proclamation that the state government will repeal the existing Meghalaya Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 and follow the Central statute about street-vending.

The Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association, led by Thma U Rangli-Juki leader Angela Rangad said that this is a victory for the hawkers and the state’s people.

She recalled that six years ago, the association came about because there was discrimination and oppression against this working class. “Since 2015, there was rampant illegal eviction of the hawkers. There was so much illegality, when they would confiscate goods, it would not be returned,” recalled Rangad.

She added when the hawkers were busy coming together, the government illegally brought in a law when there was already a Central law on hawking.

“That was when we challenged the state law because it had clauses which disempowered the hawkers, which was nothing but an excuse to evict hawkers. Whereas the Central Act had enabling provision, that ensured that alongside regulation of hawking, there would be the protection of livelihoods,” mentioned Rangad.

Expressing joy over the HC order, Rangad said they kept pushing for this law to be repealed, and finally, they are celebrating.

“Yesterday in the Meghalaya HC, the advocate general submitted to the HC that the government will repeal the state act, and this is a big victory for the hawkers and citizens of the state,” stated Rangad.

The TUR leader added that this victory is of the women, indigenous people and the working classes coming together.

More than 70% of the members of the Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association are Khasi Jaintia women who are working from hand to mouth and also trying to feed their families.

She further added that they would keep a close eye on the composition of the Town Vending Committee.

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