NEW DELHI: Several street vendors and hawkers held a protest on Saturday to demand reopening of weekly markets in the national capital. The protesters, led by the Hawkers Joint Action Committee (HJAC), said either the AAP government or the Centre should allow reopening of weekly markets or the hawkers should be compensated with Delhi’s minimum wage of Rs 18,000.
Currently, one weekly market per day per municipal zone is allowed in Delhi. Ashwani Bagri, HJAC president, alleged that no street vendors had received any financial relief from the Delhi government.
“The weekly markets were shut for six months last year and over three months this year due to the Covid pandemic. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had promised to give Rs 20,000 each to street vendors to help them financially, but we haven’t received anything,” Bagri said.
He added that over five lakh hawkers have been struggling with poverty, and they “don’t have money to pay rent, medical bills of their families, and fees for their children’s education”.
“Hence, we demand that either we are allowed to open the weekly markets or we are compensated with the minimum wage of Rs 18,000,” he said. Bagri also said if their demands were not met, the hawkers will “gherao the CM house, show black flags at his public meetings and protest on the streets with their families”. The Delhi police said the protest was conducted peacefully and no one was detained.