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BMC defends hawkers

mumbai Updated: Apr 12, 2011 02:19 IST
HT Correspondent
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

Although the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has carved out strict hawking and no-hawking zones in the city after the Supreme Court directive, it is still struggling to keep designated areas hawker-free.

In the high court on Monday, the BMC even went to the extent of justifying the presence of illegal hawkers in the "no-hawking zone" outside various educational institutes run by the Vile Parle Kelawani Mandal (VPKM), saying while some had been allotted to the differently-abled, others had obtained relief from the lower court.

A division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice Rajesh Ketkar was hearing a petition filed by VPKM, which runs educational institutions such as Narsee Monji College, Mithibai College, Jitendra Chauhan Law College, DJ Sanghavi College of Engineering, etc. The petition sought action by the BMC against illegal hawkers outside their institutions because besides being a nuisance, the areas were "no-hawking" zones.

The BMC affidavit states that five stalls in the area were allotted to the differently-abled, six stalls to Aarey Sarita, while two stall owners had got relief from the city civil court.

Advocate for the BMC said the corporation had issued licences to seven stalls under different sections of the BMC Act as per Supreme Court directives. To which justice Desai asked how licences could be issued for hawking in a no-hawking zone. "You [the BMC] can keep the stalls for the handicapped, but the other stalls must go. You had no business giving them licences," justice Desai said.

The court even questioned the corporation over the allotment of five stalls to the differently-abled on a single road. Also, why had the corporation been renewing licences of stalls in no-hawking zones? "Have you given them licences forever or till the hawker dies? If licences have expired in the no-hawking zone then remove them, why renew them," justice Desai said.

The high court has directed the corporation to produce the Supreme Court order, based on which the corporation granted licences to seven stall owners. The court has even summoned concerned officer after two weeks.

VPKM's petition had highlighted an incident on September 4, 2010, where a girl from Mithibai College was attacked by unknown persons outside the college premises. After the incident, the management hired private security.