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Residents not alone, even hawkers in city upset with new pitches

Last Sunday, thousands of residents protested against the allotment of new hawking pitches by the BMC.

Written by Salman Hashmi | Mumbai |
April 22, 2015 2:01:59 am
BMC, hawkers, mumbai hawkers, Azad Hawker union, vendors, hawker protest, mumbai news, city news, local news, mumbai newsline Meanwhile, the hawkers unions have planned a meeting on April 23 at Ghatkopar to decide their next course of action.

Even as residents continue to protest against new hawking pitches designated by the BMC, vendors too have opposed the move saying shifting them to different locations, especially residential areas, will affect their livelihood.

Salma Sheikh, general secretary of the Azad Hawkers Union, said, “The hawkers have been operating in their respective areas for many years. They are really helpful to the working middle class, who cannot make food themselves due to time constraint and buy food packets from hawkers. Shifting their business to residential areas like Pali hill is illogical for it will merely lead to a loss of livelihood and nothing else.”

Last Sunday, thousands of residents protested against the allotment of new hawking pitches by the BMC, saying they fear the hawkers’ entry will disturb their peaceful neighbourhoods. Following the protests by resident associations, the Azad Hawkers Union has now announced a protest against the new pitches on May 7. The union leaders are expecting more than 50,000 hawkers to participate in the protests to be held at Azad Maidan.

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Some hawkers say the BMC’s move to include hawkers in residential areas is a deliberate move to nullify the policy which mandates that 2.5 per cent of the city’s population have to be vendors. This means there can be 3.1 lakh hawkers in the city.

Dayashankar Singh, founder of the Azad Hawkers Union, said, “The money collection by officials will end if hawkers are granted pitches legally. That is why, the BMC has deliberately marked hawking zones in residential areas so that the proposal is axed because of protests.”

Of the 3,727 streets marked by BMC as hawking zones in the new policy, more than 1,600 have been marked in western suburbs, 1,339 in the island city and 742 streets in the eastern suburbs.

Pallavi Darade, additional municipal commissioner, said, “The process is in its initial stages. We will invite suggestions and objections from citizens and hawkers before we go ahead with it.”

Meanwhile, the hawkers unions have planned a meeting on April 23 at Ghatkopar to decide their next course of action. Sharad Indulkar, general secretary of the Maharashtra Hawkers Union, said, “We have called hawkers, union members, advocates for the meeting.”

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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