Aimed at transparency and informed decision-making, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will arrange for field trips for seven zonal town vending committee (TVC) members to check roads and pitches proposed for hawking. After a year since the committees were formed, only over 10,000 hawking pitches in Borivali, Gorai and Malad have been approved, out of the 85,000 proposed by the civic body.
“As per the policy, the BMC is supposed to take all members to check the pitches and the areas. However, not all zones had followed the process, leading to opposition at the meeting,” said Vidya Vaidya, an activist from Bandra and a TVC member.
What is town vending committee?
The 20-member town vending committee headed by the municipal commissioner is seen as a one-stop solution for issues related to hawkers and pedestrian rights in the city. Constituted last year, after a state government notification, the committee has members from the Mumbai Police and traffic department, representatives from hawkers’ organisation and activists. The committee is significant, as it will be the final authority to decide on the number of authorised hawkers in the city, areas where hawking can be allowed and act as as a redressal forum. The committee resumed significance after the civic body’s move to ensure that there are no hawkers within 150 m radius of railway stations. The measure had come in the wake of the stampede at Elphinstone Road station (now Prabhadevi) in which 23 people had died on September 29, 2017.
According to the Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act, the BMC formed the TVC on a government directive. The rules state that the TVC must survey street vendors, issue them vending certificates and decide on their relocation. In addition to the 20 member TVC, the BMC has also formed seven zonal TVCs for better coordination. Zone 2 TVC, which consists of Dadar-Parel area, will inspect 68 roads that have 6,939 hawking pitches, this month. Nikhil Desai, a member of the zonal TVC, said: “There was a lot of confusion, as we had not inspected the roads. The zonal deputy municipal commissioners have assured us that the committee members will be taken in a bus or taxis to check the roads ward-wise.” The pitches that are 1m x 1m in size, as per the policy, should not be within a 100 m radius of schools, hospitals and 150 m radius of railway stations.
The BMC has also specified the commodities that can be sold in each area. For instance, vendors near schools can only sell fruits and not cooked food.
In January last year, the state had cleared its hawkers’ policy that allows anyone with a domicile certificate to be considered for a hawking licence. One member from each family will be allowed hawking. It also allows the sale of pre-cooked food on streets, after the High Court prohibited roadside cooking. The policy classifies hawkers into three categories — mobile, stationery and permanent hawkers.