It has been six years since the Supreme Court ordered the state government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to form a policy within six months from the day of judgment. It gave the order on February 12, 2007, and no policy is in place till now. In 2009-2010, the BMC framed a bill for the hawkers’ policy which was approved by the state government but Parliament is yet to give its approval.
Hurdles like political pressure and city politicians’ lobbying at the Centre to put the policy on hold have ensured that it is gone to the cold storage. However, the state government has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, clearing its stand on the hawker’s policy. The bill was to be approved by the parliament in the winter session but it has not happened.
“A draft of protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending bill 2009 — a model of street vendor’s bill — has also been cleared. But, it is yet to be approved by the parliament. We will have to wait for the Centre’s nod to frame and execute the policy,” said a senior official from urban development department of the state government.
“Politicians are appeasing their vote banks by keeping the issue of framing policy pending, thereby causing inconvenience to the public. Why can’t hawkers and citizens coexist by following simple rules?” said Aftab Siddique, a civic activist who fights against illegal hawkers in Khar and Bandra.
- If all goes well, citizens will soon be able to report on the menace of illegal hawkers on a new portal. The BMC is planning to set up a hawker removal portal system along the lines of the pothole tracking system
- A civic official said, “Citizens just have to download the android application to upload the photos of the illegal hawkers from their area, which will show the exact location.”
- “Once a photo is uploaded on the portal, it will be assigned to the ward’s senior licence inspector for action. BMC must attend to the complaint within 24 hours,” he added