Mumbai fixes space for hawkers

Vendors call policy anti-business  

By Rajil Menon
Published: Monday 31 May 2010

mumbai’s municipal corporation has proposed fixed hawking zones in the city. Its draft byelaws for regulating hawking are ready and were open for public comments till April 20.

“We have received over 350 responses. Once approved, the Hawkers (Occupation and Regulation) Byelaws of 2009 would be forwarded to the state government for notification,” said S S Kudalkar, deputy municipal commissioner. Citizens groups said the hawking policy would help many hawkers obtain licence. “Mumbai has over 200,000 hawkers of whom only 20,000 are licensed. Most of the licences were issued in 1979, which means a large number of hawkers are forced to work illegally,” said Krishnaraj Rao of Sahasi Padayatri, an initiative for rights of pedestrians.

But hawkers’ associations said the new policy would throw them out of business. They cited the instance of the hawking zone demarcated inside Hiranandani residential estate in Powai. “Rich people live there. Who among them will buy stuff from us? Outsiders cannot enter such gated communities,” said Syed Haider Imam of Pheriwala Vikas Sangathan, a hawkers’ association. “There are 313 reserved market plots in the city development plan but only 112 have been developed, of which 97 have been handed to private builders for redevelopment. If the municipality develops all the 313 markets properly, all hawkers can be easily accommodated,” said Imam. Activist Nayana Kath-palia said at least 30 per cent hawkers can be relocated in municipal markets.

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