MCC Officers say helpless due to ‘Political Interference’
Mysore/Mysuru: The bustling Sayyaji Rao Road and its surrounding areas in the heart of the city appeared noticeably empty last fortnight following an extensive operation conducted by the officials of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and the local Police on July 19.
Street vendors on the footpaths were instructed to cease their business activities, as their setups were obstructing the flow of traffic. However, in just a few days, many of these vendors have returned to resume their operations.
According to Mayor Shivakumar and a few MCC officers, the resurgence of these vendors can be attributed to political intervention.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, some officers revealed that certain political leaders are forcing them to refrain from clearing the footpath encroachments. “Our hands are tied and even the vendors are openly defying the orders,” stated one Officer.
Both the MCC and the Police authorities have confirmed that the street vendors had encroached not only the footpaths, but also the sides of the roads.
“The footpaths are designated for pedestrians, while the streets are already congested with traffic, exacerbating the situation for pedestrians,” explained an Officer.
“Political considerations and social dynamics are undeniably influencing decisions regarding eviction here, with vendors enjoying political support,” the Officer further noted.
Although the Central Business District streets were successfully cleared from July 19, the vendors quickly returned to continue their operations.
“Some vendors had erected small shelters, which violates regulations. While we recognise the need to provide them with space to conduct their businesses, we cannot allow them to overcrowd the area and impede people’s movements,” the Officer emphasised.
Acting on the Mayor’s directives, teams from MCC’s Abhaya, MCC Zonal Officers and engineers initiated the eviction drive on Sayyaji Rao Road near Makkaji Chowk in July. Over the years, these vendors had occupied the footpaths in this area, depriving pedestrians of their rightful space and forcing them to navigate through cramped paths between shops and street vendors or even venture onto the busy road itself.
The eviction drive was prompted by complaints received by the Mayor regarding footpath encroachments by vendors near Mysore Palace and Sayyaji Rao Road (Raja Marga). The Mayor’s inspection covered footpath areas from K.R. Circle to Government Ayurveda College Circle, Makkaji Chowk and the Palace.
Meanwhile, the vendors have expressed that such drives would yield results only if they are ensured of livelihood opportunities within designated vending zones. Typically, after these drives, unauthorised vendors temporarily disappear, only to gradually return over time.
“This situation is unacceptable and the street vendors are enduring substantial losses over the past two weeks. I have been selling clothes here for the last 15 years, and now I’ve been suddenly evicted. Officials suggested tp open a shop to avoid this, but where am I supposed to get the funds?” questioned one vendor.
Shopkeepers in the vicinity have also raised concerns that the issue of illegal hawking becomes particularly prominent in the evenings when unauthorised vendors expand their setups, virtually taking over the footpaths.
Additionally, unregulated two-wheeler parking has compounded the problem around the bustling Devaraja Market area.