Margao: The arrest of Macron Fernandes by the Fatorda Police on July 8th that resulted in a huge outcry on social media compelling the police to release him along with his vehicle at midnight has also resulted in the Margao Municipal Council deciding to demarcate vending zones in each of the 25 wards besides raising various issue particularly of the hollowness of protection of Goans and Goaness.
Margao Municipal Council Chairperson Dr Babita Prabhudessai admitted that there are many people who survive by selling things like rasa omlete or pan puri by the roadside. “When the MMC had launched a drive against them I personally was touched to see the fate of some who bitterly cried before me that they could feed their children and families only because of this business,” she said.
Moved by their plight she has now asked all the councilors to identify places that would be demarcated as vending zones. “I have identified the road widening area near Bolshe Circle for the vending zone in my ward and Tito Cardoso has also identified a place in his ward. I am waiting for the other councilors to identify their zones,” she said.
The zones once identified by the councilors will be discussed at the council meeting and finalized. Dr Babita said the zones will have only four hand carts and said the councilors will have to decide what will be sold at these four carts. “It could be vegetables or fruits or pani puri or rasa omelette,” she said.
Dr Babita also suggested that if there were more than four people who wanted to set up their hand carts at the vending zone then they should be willing to stagger the hours when they will carry out their business.
It would be relevant to point out that while the MMC has only 149 registered hand carts on record, there are a lot more handcarts operating in the market with two or three of them using the same registration number as they are operated by family members of the one who got his cart registered originally.
Meanwhile Maclon Fernandes’ case has also raised up a very disturbing question about the way the government that talks about protecting Goem, Goenkar and Goenkarponn is actually harassing ethnic Goans to benefit migrants who have taken over the small business in Margao as alleged by Congress Spokesman Sidhanath Buyao.
While the Margao Municipal Council officials claim that they cannot issue license to sell anything in motorized vehicles but can only register hand carts, there are any number of migrants selling tender coconuts near the Power House circle and even at Fatorda Stadium which are brought in a rickshaw and no action has been taken against them.
Besides, as pointed out by Sidhanath, a trader from Margao had threatened Maclon about 15 days earlier and told him that he would be evicted from very soon and that is exactly what happened. “So what appears to be the case is that the government that talks about protecting Goans is actually listening to the migrants and harassing Goans who are trying to make their own living in Goa,” said Sidhanath.
Incidentally Maclon’s entire family is settled in the United Kingdom and he is the only one who has remained in Goa and was selling mangoes that had grown on his own trees. [H]