The state government might have housing schemes for the journalists but no such schemes are available for the newspaper vendors. While the work of journalists is lauded by society, at the same time nobody talks about the welfare of newspaper vendors. These vendors work hard day in and day out by standing in the scorching sun heat to sell newspapers to the readers. During monsoon season, they have to face severe difficulties while selling newspapers. They have to ensure that newspapers remain covered by polythene sheets so that it doesn’t get wet due to rains.Many times newspapers don’t reach the paper stalls due to heavy rainfall which directly affects the livelihood of the vendors. Sometimes they are also harassed by the administration as they compare them with hawkers and ask them to remove newspapers from the stand. In order to protect themselves, the newspaper vendors had urged the state government to safeguard their right to sell newspaper near railway stations, bus stands. Political parties too had taken an initiative to appeal to the government to not harass newspaper vendors while carrying out their duties.
Thane District Newspaper Vendor Union President Kailash Mahapadi has urged the government to provide housing schemes to the newspaper vendors on the occasion of the 20th-anniversary celebration of Newspaper Vendor Association. Dangat Newspaper distribution group chief Bajirao Dangat, Thane Vaibhav Editor Milind Ballal, team secretary Ajit Patil and other office bearers were present on the occasion.
Vivek Singh, a newspaper vendor from Andheri said, “Many of us hail from poor family background and we are dependent on the newspaper vending business to earn our livelihood. The government must take initiative to provide affordable housing schemes for us.”
Many journalists have benefitted from the government housing scheme. Thousands of reporters have been given affordable homes in Thane. Kailash Mahapadi said, “Everyone should come together for demanding to the house for poor newspaper vendors who are deprived of homes. By delivering the newspapers to readers early in the morning, they do justice to the hard work done by the journalists. Every year, we come together to raise our demand for housing needs. The newspaper vendors association has been working hard for the welfare of newspaper vendors.”
Thane Mayor Meenakshi Shinde and senior sales officer Jagtap inaugurated the anniversary celebration of Newspaper Vendor Association. The officials of several newspaper organisations were present on this occasion.
When Afternoon Voice spoke to Meenakshi Shinde, she said, “I had attended the function pertaining to the 20th-anniversary celebration of Newspaper Vendor Association. According to me, journalists are getting affordable home under a government housing scheme. Likewise, newspaper vendors should also become eligible for homes under the government housing scheme.”
The newspaper vendors, who work very hard to ensure that newspapers reach the readers, form a group of unorganised workers living below the poverty line. The advent of new media has also affected the livelihood of these vendors as now people prefer to read the news on computers and mobile phones thereby affecting the sale of newspapers. Gone are the days when people used to wait for daily newspapers to know about the latest updates. Many newspaper vendors live in small-sized housing units and they have to work hard to earn their livelihood. Time has come to recognise their contribution and hard work towards the society.