Ekta Hawkers Federation is a year old association of 120 street vendors of Natwar Parekh Compound, a resettlement colony in eastern suburbs of Mumbai. The association came about as a response to the growing uncertainty the street vendors faced after October 2018, when an altercation over parking led to the death of a street vendor. The authorities (in this case MMRDA) were alerted of the incident and responded by banning all kinds of street vending activity in the colony. The ban was revoked after a few days when the residents started complaining about travelling a long distance for their most basic supplies like fruits and vegetables. However, street vending was allowed on the condition that none of the street vendors use hand carts and would only be able to set up their pitches directly on the street.
We started working with this group of street vendors by organizing a series of workshops aimed at facilitating their understanding of the physical space they share with other stakeholders on the street, and also equip them with the necessary tools and information so that they know their rights and responsibilities.