Saptah turns lacklustre as 'senior' vendors leave

VASCO: Though the saptah fair commenced on Tuesday after a delay of one day, around 300 traditional vendors returned with their material to their hometowns and others parts of the state they had come from.

The municipal hall was visited by vendors in large numbers with various problems which were sorted out by the municipality to make sure that the saptah fair goes on smoothly. Finally, on Tuesday morning, the vendors at the fair in Vasco opened their stalls for business.

Mormugao municipal council (MMC) chief officer Yashwant Tavade said, "We have opened a special helpline for the smooth conduct of saptah. The number is 2514300. There are many complaints from the allotted licencees that their places are taken up by the 'senior vendors'. Accordingly, the confiscation of materials and inspections are going on around-the-clock."

Mahadev Rumal, a vendor who was busy packing his material, said, "We were made to suffer for no reason and we are going back as decided by all the vendors. If we don't get our original place, we will not put up our stalls." MMC chief officer Tavade said, "Whatever was done, it was done with a good intention so that the vendors do their business systematically. We had requested the vendors to co-operate with us for this year and then decided."

Another group of vendors who had come down from Hubli, Karnataka, was seen sitting on the streets.

Zuber Makandar, a utensil vendor, said, "We are not coming back next year if the same treatment is meted out to us."

On Monday night, many of the vendors went back. On Tuesday morning, when chief minister Manohar Parrikar visited the Damodar temple to seek Lord Damodar's blessings, some of the vendors gathered outside the temple with a hope that the chief minister would bring relief to them. But Parrikar moved out without having a word with them. The rest of the group then decided to pack up and leave. But for the students and youngsters, the saptah fair is not totally disappointing as a couple of sandals, clothes and bag shops were opened and the giant wheel was moving.

On Tuesday, the fair was conducted without any threats by any groups and people were erecting new stalls to set up their business.

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