Around 15,000 newspaper vendors from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Vasai-Virar and Thane will go on a one-day strike on Saturday, protesting the death of a vendor during a civic drive against hawkers.
The vendors also want the civic body to exempt newspaper stalls in their drives against encroachment.
Subhash Kanolkar, a newspaper vendor from Dadar, died of a heart attack during a May 10 drive against hawkers. Brihanmumbai Vruttapatra Vikreta Sangh (BVVS), the newspaper vendors’ union, alleged that ward officer Devenda Kumar Jain, demolished Kanolkar’s stall, leading to the heart attack. The BVVS has demanded action against Jain.
Union leaders, led by president Subhash Desai, a Shiv Sena MLA, on Friday visited municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte. “We want strict action against the BMC officers concerned,” said Hari Pawar, general secretary, BVVS.
“The BMC applies its 1999 policy to newspaper vendors. Its investigation report states that the action was taking place 200 m away from Kanolkar’s stall. If the union has an eye-witness, it should produce them in front of additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani,” said Kunte.
As per the 1999 policy, if a newspaper vendor sells only a newspaper and its supplement, s/he does not require a licence. If the vendor sells magazines and books as well, s/he is considered the hawker and requires a licence.