The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to demolish structures like PCOs and other makeshift shops which were allotted to the physically and visually challenged people (divyang) and allot them shops in the municipal markets.
The move has been approved by Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta and the Town Vending Committee (TVC), which handles hawkers’ registration, issuance of licences and demarcation of hawking zones in the city.
BMC had allotted telephone booths to physically and visually-challenged people to provide them an independent source of income and to empower them. However, with mobile phones gaining popularity specially with cheaper call rates, there has been a drop in the use of landline telephones and PCOs. “This has affected their earnings to a large extent. That’s why we have decided to rehabilitate them by giving shops in municipal markets. They also have no proper facilities like toilets near their makeshift shops which will be available at the municipal market where we will be accommodating them,” said Nidhi Chaudhari, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (special).
“We will now table the proposal before the general body and standing committee for final approval,” she said.
Physically challenged persons have a two per cent reservation in municipal markets. Civic officials have decided to demolish the telephone booths and make way for walks for pedestrians and wide footpaths. Physically and visually challenged people will be charged accordingly for the shops they will be allotted in the civic-run markets, said Chaudhari.
There are 1,800 physically and visually challenged people across the city who were allotted shops to run PCOs and other means of livelihood. However, under the first phase of this new scheme, the civic body will rehabilitate 700 people in the municipal markets while the rest will be rehabilitated in later phases depending on availability.
Earlier this year, the civic body also proposed dedicated hawking pitches/zones for the physically challenged. The TVC is now verifying applications and documents for issuing hawking licences to those eligible. The TVC will demarcate hawking and non-hawking zone and will allot hawking pitches to these hawkers.