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After Elphinstone Road stampede, BMC plans FIRs to stall the return of hawkers in Mumbai 

In a first, the civic body started to file first information reports (FIR) against hawkers who reoccupy spots after getting evicted, on charges of obstructing a government official from doing duty.

mumbai Updated: Nov 16, 2017 22:33 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
BMC,Mumbai,Elphinstone Road stampede
In a first, the civic body started to file first information reports (FIR) against hawkers who reoccupy spots after getting evicted, on charges of obstructing a government official from doing duty.(Hindustan Times)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to do all it takes to ensure hawkers don’t encroach upon footpaths, areas around railway stations and shrines.

In a first, the civic body started to file first information reports (FIR) against hawkers who reoccupy spots after getting evicted, on charges of obstructing a government official from doing duty.

In fact, officials of G-North ward on Wednesday booked a vegetable seller occupying a spot within 150m of Dadar railway station. Around 10pm, officials from the licence department of the G-north ward asked the hawkers to leave, but they started to argue, demanding time to sell goods. Ward officials then rounded up a bunch of hawkers and lodged a complaint against one of them for obstructing official work.

While the eviction drive started in August, the action was intensified after the Elphinstone Road stampede incident on September 29 after hawkers were found to be the main reason behind the chaos. In October, the BMC evicted about 20,000 illegal hawkers and peddlers.

The maximum punishment under this offence is a penalty of Rs500, or imprisonment of up to three months, or both.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Nidhi Choudhary, deputy municipal commissioner and in charge of encroachments removal department said, “The BMC is very strict about designated no-hawking zones, such as the area within 150m of a railway station. Hawkers keep reoccupying this area, even eviction. The BMC will go to any length to discourage repeat offenders.”

Ramakant Biradar, assistant commissioner of G-North ward, said, “We have tried a lot of things, but hawkers keep returning to the spot.”

According to Biradar, the BMC has tried doubling the fine amount, daily inspections, confiscating goods, including the table or board.

Earlier in October, the civic body doubled the fine imposed on hawkers. Unauthorised hawkers now have to shell out Rs2,400 to Rs40,000 to get back goods seized during eviction drives, compared to the earlier penalty between Rs1,200 and Rs20,000.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 22:33 IST