The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plan to shift hawkers from the busiest and iconic railway station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), will be delayed. Reason: The hawkers’ union has knocked on high court’s doors, calling the civic body’s action illegal. The hearing is on December 5.
After CST made it to the top 10 list of iconic locations under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the BMC decided to move 36 hawkers to the nearby Fort area to make the station pedestrian friendly and match the international standards. However, hawkers with permits have objected to the relocation, saying that the move will hamper their business. In addition, unlicensed hawkers have argued that the BMC needs to prepare a policy in this regard and provide a place to all hawkers.
The state government has been dragging its feet for two years to formulate the hawkers’ policy. Under the policy, the BMC is supposed to divide city into hawking and non-hawking zones and give hawkers fresh permits.
“The BMC has 90,000 applications from hawkers who are awaiting licences. Instead of working on implementing the policy, the BMC is evicting hawkers from their zones which is illegal,” said Dayashankar Singh, founder, Azad Hawkers’ Union.
The BMC had sent a 48-hour notice to all the 36 hawkers outside CST to move to Walchand Hirachand Road in the Fort area. “We have served notices to hawkers. We are following the Supreme Court guidelines for eviction, as hawkers are in the periphery of a station and hospital,” said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, A-ward.
On September 30, the BMC presented the beautification plan for CST, as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, to the Centre. The area is proposed to be cleaned thrice a day, decorated by murals and made pedestrian-friendly.