The traffic police will be joining hands with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the city police to evict illegal hawkers from roads witnessing heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Starting Monday, more than 540 roads in the city and its suburbs will be hawker-free.
“For the first time, traffic police, civic officials and the Mumbai police have decided to join hands and deal with the hawker menace in the city. The traffic department has said that there are 540 major roads in the city which face a problem with hawkers. The department is in the process of finalising a list, which will be given to the removal of encroachment department and local police stations. All three departments will then jointly take action against illegal hawkers,” said Rahul Shewale, the chairman of BMC’s standing committee.
While Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner (traffic), could not be contacted, a senior officer from the department confirmed the plan. “Traffic movement gets slowed down further on roads which already face heavy vehicular traffic and also have hawkers on them. Pedestrians tend to shop for their daily essentials from these hawkers, further adding to the problem and causing disturbances in pedestrian movement, too. But if there are no hawkers, pedestrians will be able to walk freely on the footpaths on either side of the road, and vehicular traffic won’t be disrupted,” explained the officer.
Anand Wagralkar, deputy municipal commissioner (Removal of Encroachment), said that the plan is in place and will be finalised within this week. “We are waiting for the list from the traffic police. Meanwhile, the regular action against hawkers continues,” he said.
Meanwhile, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte met CM Prithviraj Chavan and requested him to push the BMC’s case in the Centre. “The civic chief has requested the CM to talk to the Union government about the approval of the national hawkers’ policy draft, which is otherwise ready to be implemented. Once the Centre approves the draft, the state will be able to create a policy which could be executed,” said a civic official.