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Hawking zone in your locality in Mumbai? Tell BMC if you don’t want it

After getting a nod from the state, the civic body announced that it has demarcated hawking zones; it will now invite citizens’ feedback

mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2017 10:22 IST
Mumbai,hawkers,BMC
After getting a nod from the state government, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday announced that it has demarcated hawking zones and pitches(HT FILE)

You can now have a say on hawking zones in the city.

After getting a nod from the state government, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday announced that it has demarcated hawking zones and pitches. The civic body will now invite suggestions and objections from citizens, after which these zones will be finalised. Citizens can give their feedback on the plan, which will soon be put up on the BMC website, at their ward office.

The BMC has also written to the joint commissioner of the traffic police, to check if any zone will come in the way of vehicle movement.

In 2015, the BMC had proposed 60,000 hawking pitches on 3,727 streets in Mumbai to accommodate close to 1lakh hawkers. The list was scrapped after residents’ associations held protests in Dadar, Matunga, Bandra, Kandivli, Borivli, Churchgate, and Colaba, claiming the zones passed through residential areas, and would disrupt their peace and lead to safety concerns.

The hawking zones are the same ones that were scrapped in 2015. Nidhi Chaudhari, deputy municipal commissioner, encroachment removal department, said, “We have not changed the areas that were selected for hawking zones in 2015. It is the same list.”

In 2007, the BMC had marked 221 roads as hawking zones and allotted pitches for 23,000 hawkers. However, the plan didn’t materalise until 2015, when the BMC made some additions to the already designated hawking zones. “The list includes the 221 roads that were marked as hawking zones based on a Supreme Court order in 2007,” said Chaudhari.

The move has irked residents. Madhu Poplai, secretary of the Pali Hills residents’ association, said, “My association spearheaded the protests in 2015. More than 3,000 residents had come out on the streets to ensure the residential area is not converted into a hawking zone. It seems the BMC pulled back the list temporarily, only to introduce it two years later. We will not let Bandra and Pali Hill to be converted into hawking zones, and will pressure the BMC to reexamine it.”

Pali Hill houses actors, including Rishi Kapoor, who had participated in the protests two years ago.

Asif Zakaria, Congress Corporator from Bandra, said, “There is lack of clarity on this issue right now, as the ward office has confirmed that only those roads mandated by the Supreme Court order of 2007 are proposed as hawking zones. If that is untrue, we will not let residential, or already narrow streets in Bandra become hawking zones.”

8 hawkers’ unions join BMC committee

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) selected eight hawkers unions who will join the town-vending committee on Monday. The selection was done through lottery.

The Maharashtra government last week approved a 20-member committee to look into the issues related to hawkers and hawking across the city. Once operational, the panel will handle hawkers’ registration, issuing of licences and demarcating vending/non-vending and restricted zones for hawking.

The development assumes significance in the wake of the anti-hawker action by BMC and railways.

Nidhi Choudhari, deputy municipal commissioner (special), in charge of anti encroachment department, said, “This is an interim arrangement until the election of hawker representatives is completed. It is to ensure there is transparency while deciding on hawking pitches.”

The panel will work as redress committee for both hawkers and citizens. The move is expected to improve the implementation of Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.

Hawkers unions had alleged the BMC was delaying the process of appointing TVC, in violation of the Act, on purpose.

Moreover, the BMC also plans to add zonal or ward level committees for better coordination.

In 2014, the BMC received registration forms from 99,435 hawkers. The committee will scrutinise these forms for eligible hawkers.

In January this year, the state cleared the hawkers’ policy, which allows anyone with a domicile certificate to be considered for a hawking licence. Only one member from a family is allowed to be involved in hawking. It also allows the sale of only pre-cooked food on streets, after the high court prohibited roadside cooking. The policy classifies hawkers into three categories — mobile hawker, stationery hawker and permanent hawkers.

First Published: Nov 29, 2017 10:21 IST