PCC stages protest against eviction of vendors at North Bay

Port Blair
15 May 2018

The Andaman Nicobar Pradesh Congress Committee under the leadership of its president  Mr Kuldeep Rai Sharma  organised a dharna  at Tiranga Park on Tuesday against the forceful shutdown of stalls of poor  self-employed vendors at North Bay Plantation by the BJP  PRI members.  The  self-employed vendors of   North Bay Plantation and also the aggrieved  street vendors of Municipal  area participated  in the dharna in large number. Mr Sharma  expressed serious concern over the rising highhandedness and growing insensitivity observed in functioning of the elected local bodies i.e. Zilla Parishad and Municipal Council towards the poor self-employed and unemployed people  of these Islands.   Referring  to the  issue  of unemployment, he said that in the private  section, tourism and it’s connected activities are perhaps turning  out to be the biggest source of providing livelihood to the educated and uneducated mass of these islands.
Mr Sharma said, during the past five  years or so North Bay beach has turned out to be one of the most preferred tourist destinations due to Islanders venturing and developing water sports facilities at this arena.  The North Bay seafront where the water sports activities are conducted lies adjoining to the North Bay Plantation which is held on lease with the Andaman Plantation & Development Corporation Pvt. Ltd. (APDC)  Since there was no shopping facilities available in the  vicinity of North Bay beach, the APDC in order to facilitate tourist as also to water sports operators have constructed around 56 temporary eco-friendly stalls  and let out at nominal  rent to the unemployed people of these islands for selling packaged water, tender coconuts, eatables, sea shell products etc.  catering to the need of tourists visiting the place.   These poor self employed people for past five years or so are operating the stalls to earn livelihood for themselves and their families following the norms of having licence for retail shops issued by the Assistant Labour Commissioner under Shops & Establishment Act and the food stall operators having Food Safety Licence issued by the appropriate authority.
However, consequent to recent instigation  made by the sitting  Pradhan of BJP and ex-Zilla Parishad Adyaksh of BJP, these poor self-employed people have been instructed to shut down their stalls.  Aggrieved with such inhumane attitude of the ruling party, the stall operators called upon Shri Kuldeep and requested  to fight for  their cause of livelihood.   Accordingly he took up the matter with the Administration but could not obtain any relief due to interference of the local BJP leaders who vehemently and forcefully  vacated the stalls  from the present incumbents.  Left with no option, the Congress party  in order to express solidarity with the aggrieved poor Islanders and to fight for their legitimate right  to  live,  organized   Dharna to-day  to launch   agitation  in favour of  stall operators who are forcefully being oppressed by the BJP leaders.
The PCC president  also strongly condemned the action being taken by the Port Blair Municipal Council in driving away the poor road side small shaks selling eateries in the pretext of Smart City without considering the financial crisis to which these poor people and their families will be subjected to.   He invited the  attention of the BJP state president, Mr Vishal Jolly and Member of Parliament Mr  Bishnu Pada Ray towards the atrocities  done to the poor Islanders and said if you  don’t have  political  will  to  create employment opportunities  for the  poor and needy islanders,  at least  they should not attempt to deprive poor Islanders of their present source of livelihood  through self-employment. Senior Congress leaders, Smti Shanta Singh, Mr Noor Islam, Smti Ratnakannan, Mr AR. Manickam, Mr Tamil Selvan, Mr AR Andan also addressed the meeting.