Demand action against illegal encroachments carrying out business on footpaths; Claim low business during Diwali festival due to roadside vendors
PONDA: Vendors operating in Ponda Muncipal Council (PMC) market located at Upper Bazaar have threatened the PMC to protest against the roadside vendors by not paying the sopo tax.
Around 88 vendors from the PMC market claimed that a large number of migrant vendors sell goods by the roadside and on footpaths, taking away business from them. They have demanded the PMC to clear the footpaths off the roadside vendors, else they will stop paying the sopo tax.
The vendors informed that during the Diwali festival, which is the time for brisk business, migrants arrive with fruits and flowers and setup their stalls by encroaching upon the footpaths outside the PMC market. This leads to loss of business for the vendors in the market, they claimed.
The vendors, who have complained to the PMC, reminded the municipal body of their past protest which lasted for two years in 2014-15 and 2015-16 when they had stopped paying sopo tax. Then the vendors had protested against the four fold hike in the rates of sopo tax. PMC is yet to recover the sopo tax arrears to the tune of Rs 70 lakhs as a result of that protest.
The vendors informed that they want to clear their dues, provided that the PMC does not allow footpath vendors which not only takes away their business but also leads to traffic chaos and congestion in market.
The vendors claimed that since past three months some migrant vendors are encroaching upon the footpaths and selling their goods, vegetables and flowers.
As the goods are easily available by the roadside, customers buy the goods from them without entering the market where hundreds of vendors are waiting for their arrival and finally get no customers, the vendors informed.
The market vendors alleged that despite paying regular sopo tax, PMC encourages migrant vendors to sell their goods on footpath. They further alleged that the new contractor allotted with the sopo tax collection contract has added to problem by encouraging migrant labourers to sell their goods, fruits and flowers after 5 pm causing traffic problems.