Street vendors set up makeshift shops inside the Central Vista

Morning Standard spoke to two vendors who made makeshift hawking places inside the Central Vista enclosure after being removed from the India Gate lawns and Central Vista Project.

Published: 19th February 2022 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2022 12:38 PM   |  A+A-

Malti Devi is a vendor at the Vista Project site (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  In march 2020 when Covid-19 was at peak, the street vendors faced several problems as they were removed from India Gate lawns and the Central Vista project. These vendors took to hawking around adjoining areas of C-Hexagon (India Gate Circle) Akbar Road, Ashoka Road and Pandara Road, and few of them even set makeshift stalls inside the Vista enclosure selling tea, water, cigarettes, 
catering to the scores of construction daily wagers. The Morning Standard located two such vendors.

“There is no other option,” says Malti Devi, a middle-aged woman selling Rs 2 matri, Rs 5 chai and Rs 20 bottled water from an old toilet block situated near the new Vista area. The old toilet will be broken after the Vista project is completed.

Devi lives in the toilet enclosure with her husband who is a daily wager, despite having a room at a jhuggi in Janpath to save on overhead costs of electricity, water. “My husband left his job as a security guard to become a vendor at India Gate some 13-14 years ago. We used to earn Rs 1,000-2,000 per day, selling from this very spot and would sleep under the jamun trees at night. For two years, we have not earned anything due to which we had to remove our son from school,” she laments.

Lipi, another vendor at India Gate, now hawks near the upcoming parking space next to Raksha Bhavan. She has turned a huge precast concrete duct meant for holding electric cables underground into a shed to sell snacks, cigarettes etc. 

Lipi, who was earlier hawking at
India Gate lawns, now sells snacks
and tea from a huge precast
concrete duct in the Central Vista
project area

On a table next to her, Lipi’s husband sells chai. She had to resort to this ‘jugaad’ to cough up Rs 5,000 for monthly rent, and Rs 1,200 tuition fees of her three children that she has not paid for two months now. 
“This structure is sturdy against the rain and wind. My husband and I earn around Rs 400-500 daily, which is not enough, but is much better than the lockdown days when we had zero earnings. The vista workers are happy we are here because there are no affordable places close by,” she said. 

None of the Vista workers were ready to give a comment. Confusion prevails as the New Delhi Municipal Council-constituted Town Vending Committee is yet to conduct a survey of street vendors and identify if India Gate and surrounding areas are no-vending zones. The vendors were detained on February 5 and 6 by the Mandir Marg and Tilak Nagar police stations when they tried to set up stalls near Rajpath.


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