The July 13 blast at Zaveri Bazaar’s overcrowded khau gully, lined up with about 40-45 eating stalls in the 400-metres stretch, has once again brought the issue of illegal hawkers and the delay in clearing the hawkers policy to the fore.
The civic body’s hawker policy was formulated on the lines of the National Hawkers Policy, but has been on the backburner for over a year now.
The policy aimed at relocating hawkers in designated zones, providing licences, fixing hawking timings and rules. Currently, Mumbai has around two lakh hawkers, out of which a mere 15,500 have valid licences.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in a written reply to a question asked by legislator Ramesh Shendage in the state council admitted that the state government had published the draft hawkers policy for Mumbai on February 26, 2010, and had asked for objections and suggestions.
“The responses are being studied after which a final policy will be formulated and it will be promulgated into a law,” Chavan had said on the floor of the Assembly on August 3.
Shendge had asked the chief minister why the state government had not done anything about the overcrowded footpaths of Mumbai and cooked food that is served on roads. He had also asked the government why the state government had failed to act and clear its streets of hawkers and vendors.
“According to the orders given by the Supreme Court in July 2004, we formed a three-member committee and designated 190 zones in the city as hawking zones. The other zones are non-hawking and have been kept clear of hawkers by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation,” Chavan replied.
In 2004, Chavan said, the state was asked to rework the rules as per the National Hawking Policy and amend as per the city and state’s requirement. The new policy formed in 2010 makes it compulsory for hawkers to produce a domicile certificate for procuring hawking licences. It calls for five-year renewals, which every hawker will need, else they will need to cough up a fine ranging from Rs500 and Rs5,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment.