Will Mumbaikars ever see hawker free streets?
It is indeed quite nauseating that the High Court order disallowing hawkers within 150-metre radius of suburban railway stations is being flouted with impunity as the hawkers are back into their business.
Apart from jamming footway, they are to be charged for grave accidents on the roads in which mostly pedestrians take the hit. Citizens are enforced to walk on busy roads, as hawking has mushroomed even on pedestrian paths with the hawkers setting up food stalls, and kitchen.
BMC must noticeably allocate hawker zones and issue them licences so that any further crowding may be avoided. The BMC will have to put a cover on the problem rather than let it remain an open crater. Ironically, in Mumbai, all roads leading to local stations and bus stands are blocked which leaves barely any space for people to walk. It’s not just, pedestrian paths and roads, roads that these hawkers, food stalls, and kitchens have mushroomed. With the weak implementation of the policy (however stringent), hawkers and food joints have come to stay as an integral part of our lives. What cannot be cured has to be endured?”
Ironically, the civic body is offering flimsy excuses for non-enforcement of the order of the High Court, thus giving a feeling that they are hand in glove with the hawkers lobby. It is a feeling that the same apathetic mind-set will persist till Mumbaikars experience another Elphinstone Road-type tragedy, once again.
Bewilderingly, when a ban on illegal hawking, spitting, urinating, littering and garbage ban has not worked effectively, and now there is a state-wide ban on plastics. The BIG question is when no ban has ever worked effectively in aamchi Mumbai, thanks to the ubiquitous corruption, will the ban on plastics and the ‘line of control’ outside railway stations, to keep away hawkers, as they say, at arm’s length, too will ever work?”
At the outset, it is intricate to appreciate why the government is supporting hawkers, while rest of the shop keepers pay rent, electricity etc. Why can’t the authorities concerned construct markets in each area levy charges from them for occupying the space. This way, they will, at least, have some respect for the space they are using. Besides, they will not have to pay the notorious hafta.
Sanjay M Bhaire
(The author is Editor-In-Chief, Across State News)
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