Mumbai's Footpaths And Railway Stations Overrun By Unlicensed Hawkers: FRTWA Demands Urgent Action

Mumbai's Footpaths And Railway Stations Overrun By Unlicensed Hawkers: FRTWA Demands Urgent Action

Unlicensed hawkers continue to pose significant challenges for commuters and pedestrians across the city.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 10:30 PM IST
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Mumbai's Footpaths And Railway Stations Overrun By Unlicensed Hawkers: FRTWA Demands Urgent Action |

Mumbai: Unlicensed hawkers continue to pose significant challenges for commuters and pedestrians across the city. The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) on Saturday met with BMC Commissioner Bhushan Gagrani to discuss the implementation of the Town Vending Committee (TVC) recommendations and the removal of illegal hawkers from station areas, along with regular vigilance.

As Mumbai grapples with heavy vehicular traffic, the city's footpaths, meant to ensure safe passage for pedestrians, are under scrutiny for their poor condition. Many of these pathways are encroached upon by hawkers, making pedestrian movement difficult and unsafe.

The Bombay High Court has repeatedly directed the BMC to take action against illegal hawkers and to ensure that footpaths are actually walkable by removing unlicensed encroachments. During the meeting, Commissioner Gagrani assured that action would be taken in June.

Viren Shah, President of FRTWA, stated, "We have requested that a letter be sent to Ward Officers with specific directions and to begin immediate, practical measures. We asked that 100-meter and 150-meter zones around stations be clearly marked and that licensed hawkers be regulated.

CCTV footage should be checked for hawkers outside railway stations, and BMC vans should be deployed in busy market areas to remove hawkers and seize their goods without returning them. We emphasized that the Supreme Court guidelines, which include a 35-member committee, should be strictly followed."

Pournima Jadhav, a resident of Shahid Bhagat Singh Road near CSMT, added, "According to the rules, there should be no hawker zones within 100 meters of a railway station. However, what we see outside CSMT, on the GPO side, or under the subway is completely different. These vendors have arrangements with the local police and administration.

Even near schools, you will find everything from paan shops to bars and wine shops within a 100-meter radius. The BMC's rules date back to 1888, but this is 2024. There should be amendments to the act, as the old rules were created for a much smaller population. Today, the structures are different, and the population has increased. Unfortunately, actions like these are only taken when a major incident is reported. There should be constant vigilance to ensure easy commutes on the roads."

Commissioner Gagrani is scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday regarding illegal hawkers and will direct all wards on the necessary vigilance and actions to be taken. Viren Shah also mentioned that many shops and restaurants in the city are being harassed by the license department for highlighting nameboards like advertisements. In response, Commissioner Gagrani assured the FRTWA that plain nameboards (without commercial or digital advertisements) would not be treated as advertisements as per court orders and circulars.

Senior Inspector of BMC's Shops and Establishment, Sanjay Sonar, clarified, "Some nameboards are lit or electrified at the expense of shop owners, using external lights or LEDs within the letters. This is considered advertising. However, if the nameboard is naturally highlighted by street lights or government lights, it will not be considered an advertisement."

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