A woman street vendor and her daughter continue to sit on a hunger strike near the Kadavanthra metro station in protest against the alleged move by the Kochi Corporation to forcibly evict them from division 55 where they run a roadside eatery.
Rema Ramesh who runs the eatery opposite the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) office at Kadavanthra has been protesting with her daughter Aparna Ramesh since Thursday night.
“We have been running the eatery at this location for over a decade. We are even in the list of eligible street vendors published by the corporation though our address has been erroneously given as division 62. This was done deliberately by division councillor Malini Kurup in connivance with the vendor in our neighbourhood,” said Aparna.
However, Ms. Kurup shot down the allegations and stated that the eatery was set up without authorisation at the current location as recent as August and that they were eligible to operate it at South, division 62. “A councillor cannot intervene in such matters as the decision has been taken by the corporation as per a court decision. The Girinagar Welfare Association gave me a petition complaining about the eatery and it was handed over to corporation Secretary,” she said.
Association general convener Iype Joseph confirmed it and accused the eatery of being run in violation of COVID protocol besides causing traffic congestion in the area.
“It was being operated on the strength of a stay secured by the vendor from the High Court on a writ petition against the eviction. However, since then the Association had impleaded in the case and the court had directed to take an appropriate decision after hearing all the parties, including the corporation,” he said.
“Following a survey held since then, we had found them to be eligible to run the eatery in division 62,” said a corporation official concerned. In between, the vendor had approached the civic body to change the address of the eatery to division 55.