Thursday, July 25, 2024

Paul parries vendors’ ire


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 22: After facing criticism, Tourism Minister Paul Lyngdoh on Saturday clarified that his statements regarding the relocation of hawkers were made in his capacity as the Spokesperson for the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government and were based on a report from the Urban Affairs department.
Lyngdoh emphasised that he had no direct role in the vending committee. “I spoke on the topic as the spokesperson of the government and based on the report I received from the Department of Urban Affairs. Deputy Chief Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar also gave the same statement, and we received cooperation from many hawkers,” he stated. This clarification comes in response to accusations from the hawkers’ association that he misled the public about the relocation proposal.
Lyngdoh reiterated, “I have no role in the vending committee, but when the media asked me, I spoke as the spokesperson of the Government of Meghalaya, not in my individual capacity.”
He acknowledged that it is impossible to please everyone and that differing opinions are inevitable.
The minister outlined the structured approach to the relocation, detailing that the process is organised area-wise and zone-wise, ensuring that hawkers will receive better facilities than they currently have.
He highlighted the extreme congestion of roads as a significant problem, affecting both pedestrians and emergency response times during incidents like fires.
“This relocation plan includes stringent guidelines from the concerned ministry, and the state government has followed all necessary procedures, which has contributed to the time taken to address this issue,” Lyngdoh explained.
He expressed hope for cooperation, noting, “I believe that good sense will prevail and they would work together because it is in the interest of the public. Like they have the right to earn, so does the pedestrian to walk on the footpath.”
It may be recalled that the state government has announced plans to relocate over 700 legitimate vendors identified within the Shillong Municipal Board. Lyngdoh specified that around 200 vendors in the Khyndai Lad area are expected to be relocated by July.
In reaction to Lyngdoh’s statements, Hawkers Association Secretary Shane Thabah expressed surprise, while pointing out that the Tourism minister is not a member of the Town Vending Committee.


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