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MGSPHSVA objects to Meghalaya Street Vendors Act

FROM A REPORTER

SHILLONG, Feb 12: The Meghalaya and Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association (MGSPHSVA) has reiterated its opposition against the Meghalaya Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 and instead demanded the government to implement the tiol Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.

According to the association, the State Act is an illegal act but also because of its highly regressive content which goes against most provisions of the central law with regard to the protection and regulation of street vendors in the State.

Informing that the Central Act was passed by the Parliament of India and it received the assent of the President on March 4, making it applicable throughout the country, Angela Rangad, TUR member in a statement issued here on Sunday said, “The state of Meghalaya however, chose to ignore it and passed its own law, i.e., The Meghalaya Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. This law was passed on 24th November 2014, 9 months after the central law came into being.”

She said the state Act is unconstitutiol since it tries to bring an independent legislation when a Central Act is already operatiol.

In this connection, she said this matter has been brought to the notice of the High Court and on 10th February, 2017 the MGSPHSVA’s writ petition challenging the constitutiolity of the State Act was admitted.

She said if the State Government had accepted the recommendations of MGSPHSVA when it first met the former Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on 23rd July 2016, the entire issue could have been resolved and a proper mechanism to protect the rights of hawkers while also regulating street vending activities put in place.

“This whole turmoil is the result of the stubbornness and disregard of the State Government in following proper legal procedures. In fact, the Central Government has been constantly sending queries to the State Government as to the legality of the State Act. With the High Court admitting the writ petition challenging the constitutiolity of the State Act, MGSPHSVA hopes that justice will filly be delivered,” she said.

It may be noted that the MGSPHSVA has always maintained that protection of hawker’s livelihoods and its regulation is essential and the Central Act has laid down in great detail how that can be accomplished.

The MGSPHSVA opposes the State Act not only for it being an illegal act but also because of its highly regressive content which goes against most provisions of the central law with regard to the protection and regulation of street vendors in the State.

According to her, the Central Act provides for a minimum of 40 percent representation of street vendors in the Town Vending Committee (TVC), which is the apex body concerned with regulating street vendors. An additiol minimum of 10 percent of members are also to be derived from Community Based Organizations. The remaining members then are constituted from the local authority.

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Ankur Kalita