The state will intervene in the new hawking policy for the city only if the civic body’s public representatives fail to do their job, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Hindustan Times on Thursday.
Fadnavis’ comment comes after several protests were organised across the city last month by citizen groups in south Mumbai, Matunga, Dadar, Bandra and Khar, demanding the scrapping of the newly demarcated zones, stating that they are haphazard and unnecessary in a city that is already dealing with a huge population and open space constraints. They also want the state urban development department, headed by Fadnavis, to intervene and tweak the new zones.
“I think that it isn’t proper for the government to interfere on every decision taken by the civic body. It has public representatives. Let them do their job. If they fail to do their job, then the government will surely step in,” Fadnavis told HT.
Fadnavis, however, did step in last month and directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to scrap the controversial draft development plan and prepare a new draft in four months. Citizen groups opposing the hawking zones are expecting a similar step by Fadnavis in this case.
The new hawking policy drawn up by the BMC, experts argued, is not based on any ground surveys done by the civic body, and is based on the national hawking policy of 2009. There has been no consideration of the locality, population, factors such as parking issues, distance from schools or existing illegal hawkers while marking the pitches, experts said.
Realising the flaws, after new BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta stepped in, the BMC has taken a decision to invite protesting citizens from every ward and give them a hearing. If the civic body is satisfied with their justification of shifting the hawker zones from the new demarcated site, then it will be incorporated into the new list.
Fadnavis said his department will first see how the process pans out before taking a call. A notification on the new hawking policy, inviting suggestions and objections, is expected to be in the public domain next week. BMC officials said the opinions from citizens will be invited either in the form of a letter or a hearing, the dates of which will be announced by the civic body in the circular.