BMC will use technology to rid Mumbai of illegal hawkers
Struggling to solve the problem of illegal hawkers for more than three decades and under fire for its recent listing of hawking zones, the BMC has turned to technology for help.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to use a combination of geographic information system (GIS) mapping and a survey software, to spot illegal hawkers and act against them.
“We are in process of preparing the software for GIS mapping of hawkers in the city. It will equip us with all the details on the hawkers and help us in controlling illegal hawking,” said BG Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (DMC), encroachment removal.
The GIS mapping will provide the civic body with the details of every registered hawker, including their location, name and biometric details, at the click of a button.
Thus, it will be able to crack down on vendors operating without permission, or in areas not designated for them, said sources. This is also likely to help improve eviction drives by the BMC, and prevent hawkers returning in days.
Once the BMC confirms hawking zones and provides licences to the hawkers, which it is in the process of doing, the GIS mapping will take place, where all the details of the hawkers will be stored in a database. The civic body will also undertake bio-metric survey of hawkers, so that they are not able to rent out their licenses.
While activists welcomed the development, they highlighted the need for a mechanism to check collusion between hawkers and civic officials.
“This is a positive step by the BMC. But usually, officials are hand-in-glove with the illegal hawkers. The civic body should also come up with a system where it can question its officials, and punish them if found guilty of taking bribes from hawkers,” said Nikhil Desai, coordinator of the citizens’ group AGNI, F-north ward.
“Otherwise, the problems of illegal hawkers and their harassment by civic officials will continue,” Desai said.
The BMC is also in the process of scrutinising the 99,435 registration forms received through the hawkers’ survey in July last year, which will be used to prepare a list of the total number of hawkers in the city.
These will then be provided with licences and their respective hawking pitches (spot for one hawker).