There is a ‘Chaat’ vendor here in Gr Noida.(‘Chaat’ is Hindi word for ‘assorted snacks’).He makes great Golgappas( ‘Puchaka’ in Bengali , ‘Pani-Puri’ in Marathi) , an Indian snack made up of wheat , which looks like a tennis ball , and is then filled up with mashed potato , peas and spicy water.
Yesterday , he was sad.I asked him.What happened”.He told me that “Authority people have ordered him not to bring his stall and sell ‘Chaat’ or they will take away or destroy his stall.I asked , why ? “Because I don’t have the license to sell it” , he replied.License ? for selling snacks ? I was surprised.
I would like to throw some light on the description of Gr Noida as a city which is unlike any other typical Indian city.The infrastructure is new , stable and modern and surroundings are clean and green.It has biggest Golf-Course in Asia and has a brand new F-1 circuit to its disposal.It can be used as a model for integration of Industrial , Institutional and Residential areas in any city.It’s economy is dependent on Industry , Education , Real-Estate and its residents most of which are students and working class people.Though Infrastructure is world-class and would match any city of North America/Europe.But there are many gaps to be filled in local transportation with in the city.You just have to have your own car if you want to travel with in the city , with some some exception where autos are available.
Sometimes the look of the city is so deserted that I feel as if I am in some American/Australian town.Its always a luxury to find some road-side vendors who sell things of daily use like vegetable , snacks and fruits at reasonable prices.I feel that most residents of city appreciate it and make best use of the opportunity provided to them.I always thought that planning of a city should always keep the welfare of its residents in mind.
But the attitude and mindset of authorities , who have the responsibility to make the city work , seems totally different.Here , a poor ‘Chaat -Vendor’ is earning his livelihood with hard work and serving people with good procuts and services at a reasonable prices.Then what is the problem ? Encroachment ? NO ! Because in such a deserted and open place where its difficult to find even a dog on streets after dark , encroachment doesn’t even seem a distant possibility.On a crowded Indian city , where illegal vendors disrupt the traffic , the argument of encroachment would have been valid.But here we are talking about a city which is vast , open , clean and green and I don’t think it would be spoiled by the only vendor in an area of 2 kilometers.
The attitude and rules of Authority people smells of classicism .There is no place for poor people.If residents don’t have any objection to the presence of a vendors then why should administration authorities intervene ?Ok charge them some amount for using the public place.But then public places are are made on money of public and when public don’t have any problem why do they become overenthusiastic in dealing with a poor vendor.Just because some rules made under British India to harass Indians are still in operation.The only difference is that this time rulers are also Indians but certainly of different economic political class where , ironically , poorest minister is also a millionaire.
Its irks me to thinks that on one hand domestic vendors are not allowed to earn their livelihood with hard work , and on other hand our ‘Democratic’ government is opening the market for international biggies like Walmart and Tesco by allowing FDI in retail sector.Why this magnanimous gesture ? Further to note is that the model of ‘Farm-to-Stores’ has been fighting stiff resistance from local groceries all over the world.And here our government wants to implement this failed idea decades after it started in western world.
Time has come in India to completely change the system and the thought process working behind it.We have set new goals which resonates with the aspiration and expectation of young Indians of all class and caste.
I certainly don’t want a fake democracy where a poor man don’t have the permission to earn his livelihood.And still government say that we want to remove the ‘Poverty and “Un-Employment”.
The time has come to quote a Punjabi dialogue from a recent Hindi Movie in LOUD –
Saada Haq , Aithe Rakh !