CUTTACK: For thousands of street vendors who are suffering great misery due to the lockdown and shutdowns, the Covid cash assistance of Rs 3,000 announced by the State government remains a pipe dream. The negligence of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) has kept nearly 4,000 street vendors out of official database.
Take the case of 38-year-old Manoj Bastia of Chandni Chowk, a children’s garments near City Hospital for the last 15 years. He failed to avail the benefits as his name is not included in the civic body’s registered street vendors list. Similarly, Jagannath Biswal of Rovers Street, who runs a footwear shop near Padhiary Pathagar for the last eight years, and Chandia Majhi, a dahibara aloodum seller in Choudhury Bazar, have been deprived of the assistance due to the same reason.
There are more than 10,000 street vendors in the city. But the civic body’s survey put the number at 3,463. The last survey of street vendors was conducted in 2017. Ever since, they haven’t had a chance to enrol for the government schemes.
“As per the government announcement, we had applied for availing the Covid assistance at CMC office. After submission of the applications, the officials had verified our shops. But we are yet to get the benefits,” said Manoj and Jagannath.
“The survey was conducted haphazardly by the CMC due to which many street vendors were dropped from the list. Again, many others have newly taken up street vending for survival in the city during the last five years. They are yet to be registered by the civic body,” said Barabati-Cuttack MLA Mohammed Moquim.
The unregistered street vendors have been suffering a lot due to lockdowns and shutdowns in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The CMC officials should go for a fresh survey for identification of all street vendors, he suggested.
Slum Improvement Officer Amrit Sarkar, however, said the CMC has so far disbursed Covid assistance of Rs 3,000 to 5,793 street vendors by transferring the money to their bank accounts. “Apart from 3,463 registered vendors, we have also provided assistance to 2,330 street vendors based on letters of recommendation. During verification, these vendors were found to be genuine following which the assistance was sanctioned,” he said.