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State annuls law on street vendors, adopts central law

SHILLONG:

The state government on Wednesday decided to repeal the Meghalaya Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 in order to adopt the Centre’s Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.

A cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma took the decision.

Law Minister James K Sangma told reporters after the meeting that the matter was discussed and the cabinet gave its nod for repealing the state act.

He said the state government had earlier enacted the Meghalaya Street Vendors Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act, 2014. However, the Centre had legislated the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act in March 2014.

He said a s a follow up to the communication from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the matter was placed before the cabinet to repeal Meghalaya Street Vendors Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act, 2014 and in i adopt the central Act,” Sangma said.

Besides, he informed that consequent to this, the state government has also adopted the Meghalaya Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Rules, 2022.

“This is just an adoption of the central act and pursuant to that we have to frame rules,” he said.

On August 16, The Meghalaya High Court had directed the state government to look into the issue of hawkers taking over footpaths and the alleged paying of fees to private persons as protection money to set up shop.

The court had also taken a dim view of hawkers taking over footpaths and pedestrian walkways virtually all over Shillong and Tura, the two main cities in the state and even elsewhere.

When asked, the law minister admitted that there was an ambiguity in the matter because of the fact that there is also the central act in place.

“Now that the central act has been adopted by the state government, there will be more clarity on the issues that have been raised by the high court,” he said.

As per the rules provisional town vending committees will be set up.

The chairperson of this committee will be the chief executive officer of the municipal
board, representative of the deputy commissioner not below the rank of additional
deputy commissioner, who would be the member secretary, representatives of the

police not below the rank of assistant superintendent of police, representative of the
traffic police, district health officer, the planning authority and representatives of district
council as members and non-official members would be representatives of the street
vendors which shall not be less that 40 per cent of the total members of the committee.
There would also be a representative from market and trade associations, one from
nongovernment organization, which shall not be less than 10 per cent of total members
in the committee, a representative from traditional institutions wherever applicable and
one from nationalised lead bank.

TMB calls for meet

Meanwhile, the Tura Municipal Board has called for a meeting of shopkeepers,
traders and other stakeholders at the DRDA hall in the Tura deputy
commissioner’s office complex on Friday at 11 am to discuss the need for
relocation of hawkers and street vendors which has become another burning
issue for quite some time along with discussions on the price of essential
commodities.

The rising number of vendors selling wares all across the town has led to the
congestion of footpaths and roads with buyers parking their vehicles haphazardly
as they purchase items along the way.

Some areas like the main road connecting Tura’s main education institutions of
Don Bosco School and colleges have become a nightmare for commuters to
navigate during weekends when entire markets come up all along the stretch
leaving little or no space for movement.

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