Following the Supreme Court order in September, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) formed a town vending committee to regulate hawkers in the city.
The civic officials said the committee’s work is to identify hawking zones, demarcate hawking and non-hawking zones and approve licences for hawkers. The committee comprising 35 members has been set up under the chairmanship of municipal commissioner and the members include the civic officials, police officials, hawkers union representatives, citizens groups and architects.
The apex court had directed all the states to form town vending committees to survey the existing hawkers and to approve licences and restrict from initiating action till the law’s enactment.
“Since hawkers have returned to many places, including Bandra’s Hill Road, we are unable to initiate action against them. We are taking action against only those hawkers on the streets and against those who have built extensions on roads or pavements, causing inconvenience to citizens,” said a senior civic official.
Anand Wagralkar, deputy municipal commissioner for removal of encroachment, said the civic body is also in the process of setting up ward-wise vending committees. “It will be completed soon and a meeting will be convened next month,” he added.
The citizens said the civic body should strictly adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines. “Even if the civic body is setting up ward-wise vending committees, it should continue taking action against hawkers encroaching on roads. At many places, the hawkers are cooking and selling foods, which is not permitted. The BMC must take action against such hawkers,” said Nikhil Desai, a resident of Kings Circle.
Shashank Rao of the Mumbai Hawkers’ Unions said it will try to retain the hawkers at the existing places. “If the BMC wants to relocate them, the place should be at suitable locations keeping in mind demand for hawkers’ services,” he added.
The central government’s Street Vendors (protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending) Bill, 2012, which is aimed at regulating hawkers in public areas and protect their rights, is pending before Parliament for approval. The policy proposes to permit licences to 2.5% of the city’s populace. According to Census 2011, Mumbai’s population is 1.25 crore.