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Will Shiv Sena back hawkers in Mumbai now?

The MNS is attacking hawkers, the Congress supporting them; on Sunday, Sena-affiliated Mumbai Hawkers Sena demanded hawker rehabilitation

mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2017 00:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
The MNS has been targeting illegal hawkers in and around railway stations.(HT File)

Will the Shiv Sena come out in support of illegal hawkers who are being evicted from various spots across Mumbai and being targeted by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)?

The Mumbai Hawkers Sena (MHS), affiliated to the party, has voiced its support for hawkers, and demanded that vendors near railway stations, hospitals and educational institutions be rehabilitated. However, it said the Marathi manoos must be prioritised while this is being carried out. “Maharashtrians should be given preference while allotting spaces in the new hawking zones,” it said.

At a meeting held in Goregaon on Sunday, MHS members wanted the action against hawkers to be stopped and displaced vendors to be rehabilitated. “The problem is, everyone wants hawkers, but not in their backyard,” said Ashok Dhere, president, MHS. “We have demanded that hawkers who were evicted following the court order be rehabilitated in hawking zones,” said Dhere. The Bombay high court recently ruled that hawking will be permitted only in designated zones and not on foot overbridges and rail overbridges within 150m of stations.

Dhere said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) 2014 survey should form the basis for hawkers’ eligibility.

The BMC had started surveying hawkers in 2014, which involved counting the number of hawkers in the city and demarcating hawking zones. The survey came after a 2013 Supreme Court order to implement the national hawking policy of 2009 and the Street Vendor’s (protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending) Act, 2014. However, the survey was a complete fiasco as many people set up illegal stalls across Mumbai to get themselves registered as hawkers.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the party supports legal hawkers, who have licenses.

The MNS accused the Sena of doublespeak. “The Sena corporators raise their voice against the hawkers and demand their removal while the party’s hawkers union supports them. This is a double standard,” said Sachin More, secretary, MNS.

After the Elphinstone station stampede, since the past one month, the MNS has been attacking hawkers in the vicinity of railway stations in the hope of using people’s anger and frustration with the Railways to gain popularity. This comes after MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s protest march following the stampede on October 5, when he warned the railway administration that his workers would evict hawkers MNS-style if they did not clear access to stations in 15 days. The party has said that it plans to continue this agitation, with which it is clearing looking at regaining some of its popularity and relevance in state politics.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 12:16 IST

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