THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Here’s good news for book lovers whose reading appetite was being satiated by the wayside book vendors near the State Central Library at Palayam offering books at affordable rates. The sellers are in for a breather, with the authorities easing the evacuation move and allowing some space for them along the roadside.
The vendors can continue their business on the same spot in the limited area behind the pegs that demarcate the stalls from the road. On Sunday, the day the ultimatum given to them ended, they were seen busy arranging the books in the area, which was a far cry from their earlier, relatively spacious, stalls. The vendors are disappointed over the stingy space. “There are 30 stalls here altogether. But the thing is, all do not get equal space. Only three or four get sufficient space to keep these books. Anyway, the authorities have taken a favourable stand. We searched in many places to find an alternative area in the city, but in vain. For buyers too, this has been a convenient location all these years,” says A Shabeer, one of the vendors.
Proximity to two major libraries, colleges and the university are the factors that boost book sales here. The vendors had shifted from behind Saphalyam Complex to the present place earlier following an evacuation drive.
The road near Central Library is set to be widened as long-distance KSRTC buses ply towards Thampanoor along this route and to prevent accidents.
Book lovers and cultural activists had come in support of the vendors, hosting a gathering in one of the stalls last week. The programme was organised by the Centre for Film, Gender and Cultural Studies and ‘Aksharam’ magazine.
Govt has to Provide Rehabilitation: Corp
The City Corporation says rehabilitation is government’s concern. “In a meeting called by Health Minister V S Sivakumar last month, it was informed that the government would consider providing rehabilitation for the vendors. We are unsure of a follow-up as the Corporation was not invited to any discussion in this connection. As of now, the City Corporation does not have any project to provide space to the book sellers,” said Welfare Standing Committee chairman Palayam Rajan.
The only street vendor rehabilitation project the Corporation has implemented is ‘Suvidha’, as part of which push carts were distributed to street vendors for carrying out business in the city.