The zonal town vending committees (TVC) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are yet to assign hawking pitches to more than 18,000 eligible hawkers. If the TVCs, selected over a year ago, fail to complete the process by the end of this year, they will have to conduct the hawkers’ survey again to establish the number of street vendors in the city.
According to the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, the civic body has to conduct a hawkers’ survey every five years.
“If by the end of 2019, eligible hawkers are not assigned places, the past year’s work will be futile and we will have to restart the entire exercise,” a civic official said, requesting anonymity.
The BMC’s Licence Department has finalised 31,264 pitches across Mumbai’s seven zones for nearly 18,000 eligible hawkers, of which 11,000 are old licensed vendors. Barring zones 2 and 6, five zonal TVCs have approved a list of hawkers and pitches. Dadar, Matunga and Parel come under zone 2 while Ghatkopar, Powai and Bhandup are included under zone 6. These two zones have a total of 5,592 hawkers and 9,014 hawking pitches.
“We are expecting the approvals from the remaining zonal TVCs in a month or two. We can begin the process of assigning pitches once we have a comprehensive list for the entire city,” said Vijay Balamwar, deputy municipal commissioner, who is handling the implementation of the hawking policy.
The delay has irked hawkers’ unions in the city. “There are more than 2.5 lakh hawkers in the city, but the BMC has distributed only 1.25 lakh forms. Only 99,435 forms have been filled so far and only 15,000 hawkers could be verified. This unprofessional attitude of the BMC has put the livelihoods of hawkers at risk,” said Mohan Devendra, president, Akhil Bharatiya Shramik Ekta Union, at a press conference last week.
In 2014, the BMC had received registration forms from 99,435 hawkers. However, the number went down largely after the BMC asked them to produce domicile certificate.