Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued showcause notices to 185 stall owners and hawkers at Fashion Street in south Mumbai for violating licence conditions. Civic officials have warned stall owners to stop extending their shops, or their licences would be revoked.
On March 26, the civic body’s A ward (Churchgate, Fort and Colaba) office issued notices to 185 stalls and is contemplating cancelling the licences. Officials said the move comes after repeated complaints from residents about stall owners blocking access to Cross Maidan and encroaching on footpaths.
Fashion Street is a cluster of 396 stalls opposite Bombay Gym-khana. The owners are permitted to set up stalls only within an area of 1×1 sqm. But it was found that shop owners were violating the rules. Besides that, hawkers possessing pitch (space allocated to them) had also erected stalls.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner, A ward, Kiran Dighavkar, said: “We found that hawkers had encroached on excess space. We identified repeat offenders and issued showcause notices to them.” The BMC found that of the 396 licences, only 30 were for stalls. The rest were pitch licences. However, the stall owners have shown court orders, dated 1987, to the civic officials, which had allowed them to erect stalls on pitch licences. “Even in that case, they cannot extend the stalls horizontally, inconveniencing pedestrians,” said Dighavkar.
The hawkers and stall owners refused to speak on the notice.
On May 20, 2017, the BMC had directed the owners of over 50 shops to evict the stalls within 24 hours, failing which they would have had to face demolition. The BMC had cancelled the licences of the shopkeepers/stall owners under Section 313 (B) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.
The shop owners had approached the High Court that had issued an interim relief to them.
The BMC claimed it was done due to violation of three licence norms — the person in whose name the licence had been issued being absent from the shop, bamboo scaffolding and iron rods of shops obstructing movement of pedestrians and shops selling commodities other than those they have been issued a licence for.
“Following the order, stall owners restricted their stalls within the 1×1 area. But after two-three months, they flouted rules and extended their stalls. They cannot take undue advantage of the court order. If they continue to flout norms, we will revoke their licences,” said Dighavkar.