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Shillong: Hawkers express reservations over govt’s relocation plan from Police Bazaar

First Published: 17th May, 2024 19:59 IST

Survey of the hawkers have already begun for the relocation purpose. The Shillong Municipal Board is already on the job and expected to complete the rehabilitation process by the end

Aimed at further beautification and decongestion of the iconic Shillong city, the Meghalaya Government is closely following up with its plan and intends to make Khyndailad popularly known as Police Bazaar as hawkers free by July.

To realise the plans, the state government is also working on relocating around 200 hawkers from the area in the first phase of the project. Specifically, the government is planning to make Police Bazaar, a pedestrian zone.

Survey of the hawkers have already begun for the relocation purpose.

But what is the mood of the hawkers in Police Bazar?

Speaking to Northeast Live a majority of them expressed strong reservations against the government’s proposed move, while a few among them feel that if conditions are favourable, than they have no issues shifting to a different place.

A hawker who is running business for more than 15 years in Police Bazaar said, “If we are earning a profit of Rs 500 per day here, than similar will not happen in other place. How will we maintain our families, my child goes to school, there are expenses for food, rent. How will I manage all of these? So it is better we stay here. Last December there was a survey, it was said that we will receive a hawker’s licence, but till now I have not got any licence although it has been issued.”

Kong Syiem, a street vendor sharing her thoughts said, “I am here for about 10 years. It is very bad, because it’s like our soul, our heart and everything. Because I run my family by doing a small business here. Though it is a small shop, I run family and I am happy with it. But if we are taken far away from here, we don’t know how the market will start and how our business will go. How we fulfil our family needs, it is very difficult for us. We have many cases and many objections.”

Another trader expressing grave concern over the government’s decision said, “If we (street vendors) are removed, what will happen to us? We earn our livelihood here. If we are relocated, what will happen to us in the future, we have no idea. We want to stay wherever we are, we do not want to relocate. I have been doing my business for more than 10 years. The government had done survey, they have taken our names, address and other credentials.”

On the other hand, Nidhu Das who is also a hawker has no hesitation in moving to a ‘better’ place.

“If the government provides us a better place to run our business, than we are ready to move. If the new place is a better substitute, we will go since it will be a government property. If someone creates a market place for us, than we are ready to go. I have my shop here for 14 years,” Das said.

As per inputs, the state Government have identified around 2-4 places in the town and once they are found feasible, the Hawkers and vendors will be shifted to the designated places. This is in line with the government’s decision to make Khyndailad hawkers’ free zone. Apart from Khyndailad, the MUDA parking lot in Anjalee is one of the places identified for shifting the hawkers. Beside, steps are also taken to make Motphran and Laitumkhrah area hawkers’ free zone as part of beautification of Shillong city.

In fact, the Shillong Municipal Board is already on the job and expected to complete the rehabilitation process by the end of June.

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