In what could come as some relief for citizens fighting against illegal hawkers, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday said that it will restrict hawking during festivals on roads that are less than eight metres wide.
On Thursday, four citizen groups from H-West ward — 33rd Road Advanced Locality Management (ALM), Santacruz Welfare Association, My Residents' Association and Perry Road Residents' Association — filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court against permissions granted for additional hawking spots during festivals.
The petition challenged the validity of 74 licences that were issued by the civic body and the police for hawking in the lanes of Kharie village in Khar (West) on the occasion of Ramzan Eid.
Article 317 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, provides for granting permissions, with the concurrence of the commissioner of police, for the temporary erection of a booth and such structures on any street for ceremonies and festivals.
However, the citizens have alleged that the licences were given to hawkers in Khar without receiving the required prior consent of the police commissioner. Authorities, on the other hand, claimed that it is not possible to send all applications for the police chief's approval.
"The police and the BMC already complain of lack of manpower and vehicles to curb hawking in no-hawking zones. Why then should they succumb to political pressure and allow more hawkers when they cannot control them?" said Aftan Siddiqui, chairperson, 33rd Road ALM.
On Friday, during the hearing, officials of H-West ward said that licences given for hawking on roads less than eight metres wide would be revoked.
Citizens, however, are not assured yet. "Hawkers have been setting up stalls in the area during Ramzan and Diwali since the past 3-4 years. The situation goes out of hand as there is heavy vehicular traffic on these roads, which don't have footpaths on both sides," said Siddique.