BMC says the city can add 2L hawkers

In fact, it is planning separate hawking zones in every ward for each item

Mumbai : In an amazing turnaround, the BMC says that Mumbai can add two lakh hawkers to the existing 1.10 lakh. In fact, it is planning separate hawking zones in every ward for each item; for instance for food, vegetables, shoes, clothes, fashion accessories etc.

The renewed calculation is done on the basis of the central government norm of restrict the number of hawkers to 2.5 per cent of its total population in accordance with the ‘Right to earn livelihood’ policy. Going by the city’s population (1.25 crore), Mumbai  should accommodate 3.12 lakh hawkers.

A preliminary survey carried out by the civic body around October last year, pegged the number of hawkers in the city at approximately 1.1 lakh, which many activists say is much lesser than the actual number.

The civic body has a three-step plan of action in place to handle the issue, which they say, will not only organize and accommodate the hawkers lawfully, but also make sure that citizens are not inconvenienced by them.

As part of the civic body’s plan, which is primarily to organize the hawkers, 241 teams have been formed across all 24 wards, for the process of distributing registration forms to the hawkers. The teams, comprising an inspector from the civic body’s license department, representatives from NGOs, town vending committee, local residents’ associations, trade unions as well as police officials, are spread across all 24 wards of the city.

“The teams have been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the hawkers fill up the forms. They also have to collect the acknowledgement receipt from them and update them the with time and venue for collection of their forms,” said the deputy municipal commissioner B G Pawar to FPJ. He added the BMC is looking at a deadline of August this year to complete the process.

According to Pawar, the final step would be to provide every individual registered hawker with a GPRS-enabled identity card, for which tenders have already been invited. “Every hawker will be allowed to carry out his business at a designated place and time. If the hawker tries to change his location for any reason, he would be immediately tracked because of his ID card, Only one member per family will be eligible for the ID card and if employee a member outside their family at their stall, their license will be cancelled. One hawker will be eligible to only one stall and no more.” said Pawar.

There are plans in the pipeline that a particular item will only be available at a particular location and not scattered around the city. The hawkers will not be allowed to leave their belongings on the street after operation hours, they will be expected to take home their goods with them and not leave them on the footpath, added Pawar.

Pawar also said that to deal with the problem of unregistered hawkers, the hawkers’ groups will not let new, unregistered hawkers to join the group. This new initiative by the BMC will leave no scope for any confusion between a legal and an illegal hawker.

 Sachin Unhalekar

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