State delaying hawkers policy further with an eye on civic polls, say sources
It has been four years since the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ( BMC) sent the hawkers policy draft to the state government, but the latter is yet to give its final endorsement.
During the winter session of the state legislature in 2015, the state had shown keenness on coming out with a policy to regulate 1.25 lakh hawkers in Mumbai by 2016. But sources claimed that keeping the civic elections in mind, the SenaBJP combine does not want to implement the policy.
The BMC has been taking strict action against illegal hawkers in different areas across the city even in the absence of a policy, but it has failed to regulate them.
Lately, almost all the civic wards have been taking action against hawkers. Most ward offices are following the practice stringently. However, elected corporators are facing a dilemma as their voters are seeking their intervention when the civic staff approach their stalls.
“Neither can we stop the civic staff, nor can we let our voters suffer as it is their liveli- hood. The civic staff takes action on one road and ignores the others. This creates doubt in the minds of the hawkers. Only if there was a policy in place to regulate hawkers, no one will have any chance to point fingers,” said a corporator from Western Suburb.
Senior civic officials, however, claim that given the upcoming civic elections, no party would want to disturb their vote- bank. If we go by the findings of the survey, out of the total 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh hawkers, only one lakh hawkers will be rehabilitated and be given proper license and identity cards.
A senior Shiv Sena leader confirmed that the policy will not be implemented this year and said that it will be only be after the elections that the issue will be addressed.
Hawkers stretch a sheet over their stalls in Borivli as a cover from rain on Saturday