Residents from different parts of Mumbai have been participating in protests against the BMC’s hawking policy. But consider this: a committee formed to look into grievances of citizens and hawkers has not met once in the past nine months.
In fact, the town vending committee (TVC), which comprises citizens, police, civic officials and representatives of hawker unions, was not part of the decision-making process at all.
The 35-member TVC has been given powers by the Street Vendors Act, 2014. The last decision it made was in July 2014, when it gave its nod for the surveying of hawkers and approved the registration forms.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in the meantime, gave contracts for developing a scrutiny software and creating hawking zones — all without consulting the TVC.
A ward vending committee was formed for marking of the hawking and no-hawking zones in the city. The new committee is chaired by the assistant municipal commissioner of the ward, the executive engineer, local senior police inspector, and a traffic police official. But there are no representatives from resident and hawker associations.
Members of the TVC are upset that the civic body did not keep them in the loop.
“The ward vending committee should have representatives of hawkers and residents, as was decided in the initial meetings of the TVC. But the civic body has gone against the committee’s decision and has not even bothered to inform it about any developments. It has marked hawking zones without our knowledge,” said Viren Shah, a member of the TVC.
The civic administration, however, says it is following the Act and that the list of hawking zones will be finalised by the TVC.
“We had nothing to discuss with the TVC, as the marking was administrative work. The list will be sent to the committee for approval. The Act doesn’t say that the ward vending committee should have residents and hawkers,” said BG Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner, removal of encroachments department.