Despite assuring implementation of hawkers policy and declaring some areas to be made hawker free zones, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has failed to check the encroachment of hawkers on city roads and footpaths across the city. The civic administration, despite launching the drive against hawkers encroaching on city roads and footpaths, has not been able to keep the city free of them.
The PMC had announced the implementation of hawkers policy, which was introduced in 2008, that would ensure at least 45 main roads free of hawkers and also ban cooking in the open while providing encroachment-free roads and footpaths for citizens.
The hawker-free roads listed were Shivaji Road, Bajirao Road, Jangli Maharaj Road, Lal Bahadur Shastri Road, Shankarseth Road, Tilak Road, Karve Road, FC Road, Laxmi Road, Pune station area, Senapati Bapat Road, Nehru Road, Market Yard Road, Kumthekar Road, Prabhat Road, Bhandarkar Road, Sinhagad Road.
All the main roads in the city are clogged with hawkers who cause inconvenience to citizens. They encroach upon footpaths and cycle tracks, forcing the pedestrians to walk on road, resulting in the congestion of the already busy roads with vehicular traffic.
As per the rules of the government, the PMC has set up a committee, with mayor as its president, for the purpose. It includes representatives of civic administration and hawkers association. All actions are taken after the approval of committee. “There was no meeting of the committee for long due to civic polls. Now, it would be up to the mayor to call the meeting,” said civic officer.
The civic administration has tabled a proposal to decide on rehabilitation of hawkers and also decide the rates of the property to be rented to hawkers, he said, adding that a separate committee for the purpose is being planned and the mayor would decide about its members.
When contacted, the office of mayor Mukta Tilak said that there was need to study the entire proposal. “We have received the details of the proposal, along with the way in which the hawkers were identified and the location of the area for hawkers’ rehabilitation was shortlisted,” said the mayor office.
Also, the civic administration has now sought the approval of the standing committee to increase charges of removal of encroachments in the city. To remove encroachments by handcarts and confiscate them, the PMC has been charging Rs 500 which was fixed in 2003. Now, the PMC proposes to increase this to Rs 5,000. Similarly, the charges for those selling Chinese food, snacks, ice-creams, juice and tea stall have been proposed to be increased to Rs 3,000. The hawkers on the footpath and on roadsides in no-hawker zones and junctions will have to pay Rs 5,000 as removal charges while those operating on other roads and junctions will have to pay Rs 3,000 to get back their goods.
A similar proposal to increase removal charges was tabled in 2011, but the elected representatives did not approve it, making the civic administration to continue to charge as per rates fixed in 2003.
Meanwhile, the civic administration is taking the encroachment drive on a regular basis to send a stern signal to hawkers, but they reappear the next day. It recently took a drive on J M Road, Aundh Road and Bibewadi.