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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Download an app, take an illegal hawker to task

Reetika Subramanian, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 18, 2013
First Published: 01:34 IST(18/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:36 IST(18/1/2013)

The civic body’s new plan could send illegal hawkers packing within 24 hours of being spotted by a citizen.

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Planned along the lines of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) year-old pothole tracking system, a new phone application will be launched next month to address citizens’ complaints on unlicensed hawkers, and will be called the Hawker Tracking System.

The app will be available on all Android phones. Citizens can take a picture of the hawker and mark his location.

The licence officer in the concerned ward will then tell officials to reach the spot and evict the hawker.

Using a unique hawker identification number, the user will be able to keep track of the complaint’s status — from the time it is lodged till the hawker recovers confiscated wares from the civic body’s godown. The process will have to be completed by the BMC within a day.

“The system will help bring some accountability to the process of tackling illegal hawkers on the street. It will also help attend to the citizens’ grouses,” said Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairperson.

“We will maintain a registry of the confiscated goods that are being sold illegally. As the procedure is time-bound, those officials who do not attend to the complaints in time will be held accountable,” he added.

However, citizens were sceptical about the new software, saying local ward officials are often hand-in-glove with the hawkers.

“At present, every time we lodge a complaint, the hawkers manage to escape before the inspectors arrive. We believe this could be because they are informed about the drive in advance,” said Hakim Mister, secretary of the Hill Road Shopkeepers’ Association, which incurred losses worth Rs1.5 lakh after unlicensed hawkers ransacked his showroom after he lodged a complaint.

“The software will be useful only if we can ensure accountability.”


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