What is being alleged as a move to appease vote banks ahead of Lok Sabha and assembly polls scheduled next year, the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have demanded the civic body to ensure interest of sons of the soil are protected in the street vendors’ policy.
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.
Speaking in connection with a point of order raised by BJP corporator Manisha Chaudhari during BMC’s general body meeting held on Thursday, Prabhu said: “We want the municipal administration to ensure that sons of the soil get adequate representation in hawkers’ policy by way of providing licenses. Or else, we will oppose it.”
Prakash Darekar, MNS corporator from Borivli, too pushed the demand. “The bill doesn’t specify who should get licence for hawking. There has to be some datum line provided like one set in case of slums (of 1995),” he said.
The corporators also demanded the BMC, which will execute the Bill once it becomes an act, to convey a message to Centre on allotting licenses. “If you issue licences to 2.5% of Mumbai’s population, then nearly three lakh people will occupy roads and footpaths. This point has to be brought to the Centre’s notice,” he said, demanding public representatives be taken into confidence before executing the policy.
Opposition leader Devendra Amberkar, on the sidelines of the meeting, said the stand taken by the two parties is only intended at securing votes. “Every time elections are around, they take up the issue,” said Amberkar, a Congress corporator.
Both Prabhu and Darekar refuted the allegation that they took the stand keeping eye on polls. “Our party has been fighting for the cause of locals since long,” Darekar added.