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Defining reharie (push cart) land
A study conducted by CPPR and CCS reveal that a reharie owner in Jammu has to obtain a certificate stating that he is of good moral character, duly signed by the concerned police station to get a licence to run his trade.
DID YOU know that Jammu is the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir? I am sure everyone’s answer would be in the affirmative. But did you also know that a push-cart (reharie) owner in Jammu has to obtain a certificate from the police stating that he is of good moral character before he can get a licence to run his trade? Interesting, right? Such facts were brought to light by the Law, Liberty and Livelihood project, a study conducted by think-tanks Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and Centre for Civil Society (CCS).

The study, which was aimed at documenting the livelihood regulations and entry level barriers in the informal sector was conducted in 63 cities across India, with the help of young interns. The purpose of the study was aimed at unveiling the laws applicable to entry-level professions like cycle-rickshaw pullers, mobile and stationery street vendors and to document them with the effort to create public attention to the issues faced by them. The study was funded by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT), Mumbai. The sectors chosen for the study in Jammu were: dhaba, food courts, vegetable, fruit, flower-sellers, auto-rickshaws, meat shops and cobblers.

The licensing of trades in the corporation of Jammu is regulated by the Municipal secretary and the tax collection department. Licences are issued by chief enforcement officers and enforcement officers of the respective areas. The Health Department also plays a major role in the process and the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act 1954 states that licence is also necessary in case of food-related trades. The latter is issued by the health officer of the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) after verification by the same.

In general, vendors need a reharie (push-cart) licence to start a trade. This licence covers vegetable vendors, street food vendors (dhabas), meat shops and cobblers. Only one reharie licence is given to each applicant. The licence is valid for one year, from January 1 to December 31. A discount of 10 per cent will be given to those who apply for a licence in December and 10 per cent penalty will be imposed after January 31. The reharie owners are expected to furnish an undertaking to abide by the terms and conditions of the licence and the Jammu Municipal Corporation reserves the right to limit the number of reharies in an area or even modify or alternate the ‘no reharie zones’ in public interest. It is mandatory that a push-cart owner carries a garbage bin with the reharie. The reharies should not block pedestrian paths or cause traffic hazards.

Another important criterion is that the reharie cannot be converted into a stationary kiosk. In order to be eligible to own a reharie, the applicant must be a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir and should be above 18 years of age. He should bear good moral character, duly certified by the concerned police station. In case he wants to employ labour to push the cart, three attested photographs of the hired hands have to be attached.

For street food vendors (dhabas), in particular, the PFA licence from the health officer is mandatory. For this, the applicant has to submit an application to the Municipal Corporation, which is then referred to the food inspector and finally to the health officer, who will issue the licence. The corporation reserves the right to impose a penalty or cancel the licence in case of a breach of the prescribed terms and conditions. In such cases, if found guilty, the dhaba owners can be imprisoned for not less than six months to a maximum of three years and with a fine, which shall not be less than Rs 1,000. As dhabas come under the reharie category, the same licence is applicable in addition to the PFA one. Every dhaba owner should display a notice board containing the articles up for sale. Moreover, no person shall manufacture, store, sell or distribute any adulterated food, misbranded food, any food for the sale of which a licence is prescribed or food, which is prohibited for sale.

While cobblers in Jammu require just a reharie licence to run their trade, the licence for vegetable vendors and meat shop owners is issued by the chief enforcement officers and enforcement officers of the respective area. Other procedures are the same as those of dhabas. Slaughter houses are under the direct control of the commissioner. No person shall, without written permission of the commissioner, sell any animal or article in any municipal market. No animal or article shall be sold 100 metres of any municipal market or licenced private market without the permission of the commissioner or any other officer or employee of the corporation appointed by him. Health officers of the corporation are appointed to deal with meat shops and slaughter houses. Butchers, fishmongers and poultry owners in Jammu require only a PFA licence to run their trades.

For auto-rickshaws, contract carriage permits are issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and regulated by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The permits are issued by the Regional Transport Authority, which is headed by the Jammu deputy commissioner as the chairman, and includes a Regional Transport Officer and a SSP (Traffic Police). The following documents are also required: An application form, a permanent resident certificate, a valid driving licence and the prescribed application fees. The licence is valid for a year and has to be renewed on March 31. The renewal formalities and fees are the same as applying for a licence.

An interesting fact, which came to light during the study is that no sanitation fee, whatsoever, is charged from the reharie owners. Moreover, while a PFA licence is mandatory for dhaba owners; vegetable sellers do not require one to run their trade.

The result of this study is an easy-to-access website providing details about the concerned laws and legislations.

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