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Now, Mount Mary fair in Mumbai makes honest men of illegal hawkers

The hawkers have bought temporary licences to sell their goods during the eight-day event

mumbai Updated: Sep 15, 2017 14:04 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mount Mary fair,Illegal hawkers
Stall owners display permits at their booths outside Mount Mary church in Bandra on Thursday. (Shashi S Kashyap/HT PHOTO)

Unauthorised hawkers, who occupy roads near Mount Mary church throughout the year and live in constant fear of being evicted, have found a way to legally set up stalls right there. They’ve got hawking rights from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for the eight-day Mount Mary fair at nominal rates.

During previous years, these hawkers were asked to not put up stalls during the fair so that the municipal corporation could auction the lots and earn some money. But this time, the hawkers opted for the legal route.

After residents complained about illegal hawkers in 2010, the BMC put a 20-stall cap on the booths they will auction. These 20 are closest to the church. Later, in 2014, after a court order, they decided to have just 280 stalls during the fair to streamline the process and avoid illegal hawkers. The remaining 260 stalls were allotted at nominal rates. This year, illegal hawkers got registered stalls from the BMC by paying around Rs1,500 each, which permits them to sell their products legally during the fair.

On the other hand, there are also stalls that have been rented by people who bought them in bulk from the civic body at nominal rates. The rent varies from Rs3,000 to Rs40,000 or even more. “A man who bought stalls in bulk told me I won’t get individual stalls from the BMC. I don’t need 10 stalls to sell my product, that’s why I ended up buying three,” said a clothes vendor.

The licence department of H/West ward told HT there was a proper procedure for allotment. The first 20 stalls were auctioned – for Rs38 lakh last year. According to figures available as of now, the BMC has earned Rs12.56 lakh from 10 stalls this year. “Vigilance officers look after allotment. We are absolutely clear there is no third person involved. However, we don’t know what happens at the fair,” said an official from the licence department.

When asked how stalls were given to people with the same names, he said it could be because they are from the same community.

First Published: Sep 15, 2017 14:04 IST