PACHU MENON, MARGAO
Frequent meetings of the Gandhi Market and New Market vendors associations with the Margao municipal council (MMC) chairperson over the matter of roadside vendors conducting business illegally indicate that their fervent pleas are possibly falling on deaf ears. It is obvious that apart from the perfunctory confiscation of goods from such unauthorised vendors by its staff, the MMC is yet to seriously mull over the matter and keep the roads and pavements all around the city free of encroachment. Apart from eating into the business activities legitimately being conducted by vendors in these markets, every nook and corner of Margao overflowing with squatters selling their wares is definitely not a sight for sore eyes. Despite having three prominent markets in Margao, one fails to understand the logic behind permitting illegal vending of goods and merchandise at areas designated as passages and thoroughfares! While one has to agree with the fact that the vendors from the ST community selling produce grown in the hilly areas have been given a raw deal all these years in so far as the government’s – and the MMC’s – failure to provide a dedicated space in the city for selling seasonal produce in spite of repeated requests; but how right are they in issuing threats of staging ‘dharnas’ in front of the municipal building if it thinks of evicting and preventing them from eking out a livelihood! Presently the seasonal sale of local produce is carried out near the Margao police station. While it would be appropriate to have vending activities only in designated market places, it is, however, the municipality’s responsibility to ensure enough space for all vendors to carry out their business activities from within the existing market complexes. The vendors, in turn, should comply with the norms laid down by the MMC failing which they could attract fines and even have their goods impounded.