IMPHAL, November 29, 2017: Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh on Wednesday promised soft loans to thousands of women street vendors who have taken over virtually all the footpaths and other available space in Imphal.
“This will enable the women vendors to earn livelihood through some other means of earning, far away from the city,” he said on the sidelines of a function commissioning a garbage truck donated by the State Bank of India to the Imphal Municipal Corporation.
Biren Singh added that the squatting women vendors are obstructing traffic and pedestrians in the fast growing city. With the bank loans the vendors could start weaving, rearing of ducks and hens and the like and do the business elsewhere.
“In such an eventuality, there will be no overcrowding in the city,” he added.
This is the second attempt by the government to clear away the street vendors.
Women vendors sharply reacted to the Chief Minister’s suggestion that the women vendors take loans to embrace new businesses.
Fish vendor Pishakmacha said she made purchases from a number of fishermen coming to Imphal and ran her family “with the meagre profit” she made. “I cannot make a living by rearing hens or ducks.”
In the past, an alternative market was allotted to the women vendors but they refused to shift to the new place, saying it was customer-unfriendly.
In Manipur, all markets are exclusively run by women.
Featured image(courtesy): E-Pao!/PTI