Under the "Prime Minister Street Vendor Atma Nirbhar Nidhi Scheme" (PM SVANidhi scheme), the BMC has granted a loan of Rs.10,000 to aid struggling vendors in reviving their businesses impacted by the pandemic. However, hawkers have raised concerns about loan repayment when they are not allowed to operate on footpaths. The Dadar Hawkers Sangharsh Samiti has written a letter to the BMC, urging them to permit long-standing hawkers who have been working for the past four decades.
Despite the existence of a policy formulated in 2014 to designate specific areas for eligible hawkers, its implementation remains uncertain. Consequently, the BMC has been taking action against hawkers sitting within the restricted 150-meter radius of railway station premises, following the Supreme Court's directive. Meanwhile, approximately 90,000 hawkers have received loans under the SVANidhi scheme from the BMC. Sanjay Khande, Chairperson of Dadar Hawkers Sangarsh Samiti, raised the crucial question of loan repayment for the 1,000 hawkers in Dadar who have been prohibited from conducting business for the past six months.
Shashank Rao, President of the Mumbai Hawkers' Union, emphasized that they had previously addressed this issue with the BMC, highlighting the challenges hawkers face in repaying loans when action is taken against them. With an estimated 2.5 to 3 lakh hawkers in the city, they demanded that these hawkers be deemed eligible. However, the BMC has only recognized 1.6 lakh hawkers and compiled a list of 32,000 eligible hawkers, creating a contradiction in their own decisions.
A senior civic official expressed confidence in resolving the matter once the Town Vending (TVC) committee is established. The TVC holds the authority to implement the hawker's policy and provide a viable solution.