Watch the full video (above) where Durba Chattaraj describes the world of ‘little box retail’, small roadside shops, which line a major national highway in West Bengal. She argues that while these retailers form the center of local economic and social life, a majority of them are unauthorized structures. She uncovers the unusual way in which the municipality taxes these unauthorized structures, through the creation of informal 'trade licenses’ in an attempt to mediate the dissonance between the law and actual practice in everyday life in India.
As India proceeds on the path of highway modernization and road widening, it becomes important to question the future of these vibrant, and unauthorized, roadside marketplaces.
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