Allotment of hawker pitches once again hits a roadblock

After a delay of almost six years since the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) surveyed hawkers in the city, the civic body is yet to allot hawking pitches to around 17,000 eligible hawkers. If officials are to be believed, the process of allotting pitches has hit a roadblock due to the coronavirus outbreak early this year.

The allocation of hawking pitches will now be delayed further, the civic officials have hinted. Even as hackers continue to occupy scattered spaces on the roads and footpaths, BMC is sceptical on allotting pitches citing coronavirus outbreak. This despite the timeline for conducting the next hawker survey has already passed.

According to the Street Vending Act, the BMC has to conduct a hawkers’ survey every five years and the last one was done in July 2014. Of the 89,000 hawking pitches demarcated during the survey, the BMC finalised 30,832 pitches which were marked on 404 roads across the city.

Of the 99,435 city-based hawkers surveyed in 2014, around 17,000 were recently declared eligible. The seven town vending committees (TVC) have to now finalise and allot the pitches to these hawkers. The next hawker's survey was scheduled to be held in July 2020.

The deadline for hawkers to furnish proof of their eligibility was extended to August 25, 2019. During this two-month extension period, the civic body received 2,235 more applications. Seven town vending committees (TVC) almost finalised pitches to a few hawkers.

However, the process could not be completed after COVID-19 hit the city.

“The actual implementation of this policy will take time with the danger of coronavirus infection still lurking upon us. It is not possible to allot pitches to the hawkers keeping in mind social distancing norms. We are looking at possible options, things will be worked out considering the new normal for now," said Sharad Bande, Superintendent, BMC Licence Department.

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