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Survey almost over: Paul on relocation of hawkers

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SHILLONG, May 9: Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh on Thursday revealed that the Town Vending Committees are almost done with the identification process of the hawkers and the only thing left is the allotment of stalls, which will be taken care of by the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) within June.
He added that once this relocation exercise in Khyndai Lad concludes, similar exercises will be undertaken in areas like Laban, Laitumkhrah and others.
Lyngdoh was responding to a recent report by The Shillong Times titled, ‘Paul’s relocation statement leaves hawkers confused.’
The recent statement by Social Welfare Minister about the relocation of over 200 hawkers in Khyndai Lad to the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) complex had left the vendors “confused”.
While some were oblivious to the announcement, others appeared either perplexed or indifferent.  Shane Thabah, general secretary of the Meghalaya and Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association, had earlier criticised the minister for creating this confusion at a time when a survey by the Town Vending Committees (TVCs) was under way.
“All I can say is that this is not an exercise that only we as a Tourism department are engaged with but primarily this was something which was taken up by Shillong Municipal Board based on certain guidelines prescribed by the High Court of Meghalaya and also submissions made by the hawkers’ association,” said Lyngdoh, while replying to the confusion that prevails amongst the hawkers about the relocation.
It may be mentioned that the Tourism department aims to beautify the Khyndai lad area, with permanent stages for the musical artistes of the state, after relocating hawkers to assigned zones.
He added, “It’s an exercise that has gone for the past two years or more and it is at its final stages. Those hawkers who wish to access more information they have their own leaders who were a part of the exercise conducted by the SMB. They would be able to get more clarity from the officials of the SMB as they were part of the several rounds of discussions”.
He further added that the SMB officials have submitted the report of their progress.
Stating that the relocation exercise is based on priorities, he said, “For instance Khyndai Lad is a part of the smart city phase 1 project and it is also the city centre once that is done with we will move into other areas like Laitumkhrah, Laban and others.”

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