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SHILLONG | Oct 11, 2019:

The notification issued by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) banning hawking by non-tribals in places which falls under the jurisdiction of the council has drawn mixed reactions from cross sections of the society.

While some hailed this move, others were of the view that this act by the KHADC is a direct insult to the Right to Equality of the Indian Constitution.

Clarifying on the decision taken by the Council, KHADC Chief Executive Member, Teinwell Dkhar said that the Council will not allow any hawkers who obstruct the footpaths whether they are tribals or non-tribals.

“We will not allow any hawkers who create inconvenience to the general public. The footpath is meant for the pedestrians and not the hawkers. We will take action against any hawkers who obstructing the footpath whether they are tribal or non-tribals,” Dkhar said here today.

“We will take action against any hawkers who obstructing the footpath whether they are tribal or non-tribals,” says KHADC Chief Teinwell Dkhar

According to him, the public notice which was issued by the Council was to ensure that there is no inconvenience caused to the general public. KHADC CEM further said that the Council also decided to prohibit non-tribal hawkers without a valid trading license from carrying out their businesses on footpaths, public roads and street corners from October 14, 2019.

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It may be mentioned that in a public notice issued recently, the secretary to the KHADC executive committee said the United Khasi Jaintia Hills District (Trading by Non tribals) Regulation, 1954 as amended and the rules framed there under prohibit non-tribals from carrying out any trade or business without a valid license issued by the Council.

The KHADC secretary in the public notice said it has come to the notice of the executive committee that many non-tribals are in the business of hawking in areas within the jurisdiction of the council especially in parts of Shillong City.

He said the hawking that is being carried out is illegal, unhygienic and cause of inconvenience to the general public. “Now, therefore the Executive Committee, KHADC as mandated by the said Act and the Rules framed there under, prohibits all hawking on footpaths, public roads, street corners etc. Any violators shall be penalised as per provisions of the Act,” the secretary said while informing that the notice will take effect from October 14.

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The KHADC has also requested all traditional heads to ensure compliance with the regulation and to report any violation to the trade department.

Meanwhile, when contacted, Executive Member in charge Trade, Paul Lyngdoh said that street vending is defined as trade under the Trading by Non-Tribals Regulation, 19 1954 and rules made there under in 1959.

“Hence the street vendors who are operating within the jurisdiction of the Council are required to obtain licenses as per law. The Act emanated from the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India framed by the national Constituent Assembly which recognised the special status of communities inhabiting the Scheduled Areas. In the case of the Khasi States, they were never part of India until they signed the Instrument of Accession in 1947-48, mainly under duress,” he said.

Lyngdoh said that those who question as to why the Council has such laws should study the history and the evolution of the India Constitution first before wagging their “ignorance laden tongues.”

“Based on the Regulation and rules framed under it, the KHADC is legally empowered and constitutionally authorised to seek compliance with the licensing process from non-tribal without affection or ill will, fear or favour,” EM in charge Trade department said.

He further said the State Government is sufficiently empowered by the Eviction from Public Premises Act, 1980 to deal with the problem of street vending by either tribals or non-tribals on public foothpaths, by-lanes, roads streets etc.

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