Police on Tuesday forced a rally of street vendors in Imphal to make a U-turn. The rally was reportedly heading for the chief minister’s secretariat. The rally was organised by the Roadside Vendors’ Welfare Association (RVWA), demanding a temporary market-shed for the street vendors in Imphal.
The street vendors who gathered at the temporary market of Khwairamband Keithel carried out the rally around 1 pm after a meeting that discussed the vending problems they were facing.
From there, the street vendors marched on the street along BT Road to target the chief minister’s secretariat and was forced to stop by a strong team of police in front of Imphal Congress Bhavan.
Imphal West additional SP who also rushed to the spot convinced the street vendors while forcing them to make a u-turn. The rally concluded at the originating place.
A street vendor taking part in the rally relayed the inconveniences being faced by the street vendors due to vending space problem. She further demanded immediate clearance of the garbage being dumped at the space on the side of the temporary market where they used to vend their wares before the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
She alleged that the government on many occasions assured providing a vending space for the street vendors in Imphal. However, the assurances it had given were not translated into work till date.
The demand for a vending space of the street vendors came at a time when authorities of the state government are making hectic efforts to reopen the Khwairamband Keithel also known as Ima Keithel to resume business activities reportedly from February 15.
The only all-women run market remained closed since late March 2020 for safety reasons after COVID-19 outbreak.
In the backdrop of improving COVID-19 situation significantly, vendors along with the authorities of the state government have started cleaning the three market-sheds since last Friday.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh is likely to open the market on the proposed date (February 15).