Stepping up pressure on the Centre and the civic body to issue licences to hawkers and implement the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, union leader Sharad Rao has threatened to organise a protest on April 1 involving auto rickshaw drivers , municipal workers and hawkers.
If the protest call is followed through, lakhs of citizens could be inconvenienced as many auto drivers are a part of Rao’s union.
In a rally carried out by the union at Kamgar Kreeda Kendra in Elphinstone, more than 600 hawkers threatened to go on strike on April 1, in demand of the hawkers’ policy. Rao, who heads the Mumbai Autorick-shawmen’s union and the Mumbai Hawkers’ union, said: “If we don’t show our strength, the government will not take steps to issue licences. There will be a major showdown on April 1 through a peaceful agitation.”
The union has also demanded that eviction drives should not be conducted by the corporation.
This comes even after the Centre has said that the Street Vendors Bill 2013 is likely to be passed in Parliament. “We demand a stop on harassment by police and municipal staff. They should also be provided with social security immediately,” said Rao.
The protest call has drawn flak from residents and citizen groups. Aftab Siddiqui, a Bandra based activist said, “ We are annoyed by such threats. It makes no sense to protest when their demands have been considered.”