Women Vendors Raise their Voice

A mission of five women representatives of the ‘Khwairamband Nipu Keithel Vendor Welfare Association’ and ‘Manipur and Roadside Vendor Welfare Association’ visited New Delhi to take up the various important issues regarding irregularities in the  reconstruction of the Ima Keithel market and space allocation.

A mission of five women representatives of the ‘Khwairamband Nipu Keithel Vendor Welfare Association’ and ‘Manipur and Roadside Vendor Welfare Association’ visited New Delhi to take up the various important issues regarding irregularities in the  reconstruction of the Ima Keithel market and space allocation.

It is well known that the Ima Keithel (the traditional market of mothers) is situated in the centre of Manipu's capital city of Imphal. All businesses including the roadside markets here are run by women. Many mothers have to walk from their villages much before the break of dawn to come here to sell their goods. Among them there are several mothers who are the sole breadwinners of their families. Around 4000 women have been given license and space to sell goods in the market. In the past few years, under the garb of modernizing this market, the government of Manipur has been systematically trying to displace and marginalize the women traders and roadside vendors.

On September 1, 2010 this delegation met with Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister of Manipur and submitted a memorandum. Through the memorandum they demanded that members of the women vendor organizations be included in all decision-making regarding space and shed allocation for the original licensees as well as regarding space allocation for the roadside vendors.

On September 2, 2010, various progressive organizations of Delhi came out in their support and organised a press conference in solidarity with the cause. Campaign for Peace and Democracy presided over this press conference.

Members of the delegation addressed the press conference and said that it is extremely important to ensure transparency and accountability in the reconstruction of the Ima Keithel. Women vendors who are physically present at the market to sell goods should be given space there. Along with the need for space to sell goods they highlighted the plight of the roadside vendors who are harassed and abused by the police.

Organisations present were – Lok Raj Sangathan, MSAD, Revolutionary Democracy, Samyak Bharat, Delhi Association for Manipur Muslim Students, etc.

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