Mumbai: The Mumbai Hawkers’ Union, led by Shashank Rao, has called a protest on November 1 of all hawkers at Azad Maidan against the illegal action taken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and not implementing the 2014 Hawkers’ Policy till now. Rao said, “The hawkers’ policy gives protection of livelihood and regulation of Street Vending Act but till date the national hawkers’ policy is not regularised in Mumbai due to which their (hawkers) livelihood is in danger.
On contrary, the BMC is taking action which is illegal. Hence, a protest would be held against them. Rao further demanded, “Until BMC does not implement the policy no action should be taken against the hawkers. Also in all 24 wards of BMC Town Vending Committee should be set up and the committee should start giving licenses to these hawkers by conducting surveys immediately.”
After the unfortunate incident of the Elphinstone stampede that occurred on September 29 which killed 23 people, citizens slammed various authorities for allowing hawkers on streets, making it difficult for pedestrians to walk on road, in turn giving an open invitation for such mishaps to occur in future.
Even, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party chief Raj Thackeray demanded action against hawkers for which he also demonstrated a protest at Western Railway office few weeks ago. He also met civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta to take firm action. At present, in Mumbai there are 18,000 licensed hawkers and 99,435 hawkers, who are awaiting for licence.
In addition, as per the National Hawkers’ Policy three per cent of the total population in the city should be hawkers. Therefore, three lakh hawkers are allowed in Mumbai. A senior civic officer said, “In a few days a town vending committee would be set up centrally which will conduct a survey of all these(99,435) identified hawkers and will give licences to those who are eligible.”