Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)’s hawker policy on paper might have earned it accolades, but when it comes to its implementation, the civic body seems to be cautious. This, civic officials say, is to avoid legal hassles over the issue.
The civic body regularly carries out anti-encroachment drives across the city to issue a stern warning to illegal hawkers.
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Records maintained by PMC shows the city has 7,244 authorised hawkers, but recent surveys done by the civic body puts the actual number at 14,000. Almost all areas of the city face the encroachment problem, with footpaths and cycle tracks bearing the brunt.
“We are following court directions on action against illegal hawkers, but we do it only after following the proper procedure. We don’t want to take action in haste which could lead to legal problems,” said a PMC official.
The PMC has set up a committee for the purpose, which includes representatives of the civic administration and hawkers’ association. All actions are taken after the approval of committee, the official said.
The PMC is also set to declare a time-bound programme on resolving the hawkers’ issue by taking action against illegal hawkers and rehabilitation of legal hawkers, he said.
The PMC has also carried out a biometric survey of illegal hawkers and issued new licences. This was done with the purpose of having details, including fingerprints of hawkers, in its records so that they can be identified easily and action taken against those operating illegally.
“The civic administration needs to take action against hawkers on a regular basis. Despite being evicted, they come back to the same footpaths and roads. It is also difficult to identify the unauthorised hawkers operating on the city streets,” said Rajendra Jagtap, additional municipal commissioner, PMC.
A GIS mapping of hawkers will also be done wherein it will be possible to find the details of any hawker in a click, he said.
The municipal corporation’s efforts to rehabilitate hawkers by shifting them to other locations have not been yielding results as the hawkers refuse to move fearing loss in business. “The PMC will take action against those not accepting rehabilitation and continue to cause inconvenience to citizens,” said Jagtap.