Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The street vendors on Saturday staged a protest in New Market with begging bowls in their hands to collect money for giving bribes to a municipal official.
The owners and managers of about 1,300 shops in New Market complex and of hundreds of stalls near Top and Town ice cream parlour, pink parking and Hanuman temple assembled near the square and staged the protest against the encroachment removal officer Qamar Sakib with posters and banners in their hands.
The vendors raised slogans against Sakib during the protest and demanded his suspension. The poster read, “Please give us alms as we have to pay extortion money to Nagar Nigam encroachment removal officer Qamar Sakib to keep our jobs.”
The vendors said Qamar Sakib removed them from the spots where they had set up shops as they refused to pay him the bribe.
Vaibhav, who sells socks near the ice cream parlour, said, “We had no income during the lockdown. Now that things are coming back on track, we are being deprived of space where we earn money and run our household. We have to grease his palm every week if we have to run our shops. We do not earn enough to afford bribing him.”
“We have complained to senior officials several times against him but to no avail. We do not have money to bribe him anymore, which is why we are begging here so that we can collect money and pay the officer,” he added.
When contacted, Sakib said vendors’ accusations are false and baseless. “We remove them because we have been ordered to do so. There is a commissioner's order that no shops will be set up around the ice cream parlour, pink parking and Hanuman temple. I have never asked for the bribe. They were asked to move, instead they are staging the protest,” he added.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)