Even though the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill-2012 is meant for protecting the rights of hawkers but vendors are unhappy with it as there is no representation of representatives of vendors in the ‘Town Vending Committee’. Civic bodies and police officials have been included in the committee who would look into the issues pertaining to the hawkers’ rehabilitation and resettlement. The hawkers union has alleged that the committee members are not working for the interests of vendors and are biased. The Town Vending Committee will only issue limited hawking licence to hawkers. They don’t want to legalise the business of hawkers as they won’t be able to demand bribes and harass hawkers.
General Secretary of Mumbai Hawker Union, Shashank Rao accused that police official and BMC employees who are included in the Town Vending Committee are harassing the hawkers and demanding bribes from them. As a result of this, hawkers are unable to run their business efficiently. They are always worried about their safety as many times BMC officials seize the commodities sold by them. The hawkers union are demanding the dissolution of the ward committee.
Talking to AV, Shashank Rao, General Secretary of Mumbai Hawkers Union said, “The committee needs to conduct the survey of hawkers eligible for receiving hawking licence in an amicable manner and follow the necessary guidelines. They should work for protecting the interests of hawkers.”
Suresh Thackeray, Assistant Secretary of Mumbai Hawkers Union said, “The committee is asking hawkers to visit their office for registration. However, they should visit the place from where we run our business in order to ascertain the whether the licence applicants are genuine. The town vending committee needs to be dissolved.”
Hawkers protested against the committee under the leadership of Mumbai Hawkers union outside the Kandivali BMC Office.
Asthaka Khan, who owns a snacks stall from past 25 years at Gokuldham Market, Goregoan said, “I run my business and many times cops and BMC official arrives and start demanding bribe from me.”
Jaya Chaudhary, a tea stall owner running his business near Oberoi Mall said, “I am a widow. Most of the time, cops and BMC officials demand bribe from me. How can I afford to pay money to them? The BMC should issue me a hawking licence so that I will get some relief.”
Sheela Jawraj, a vegetable vendor from Goregaon said, “If the committee is unable to resolve the issue faced by the hawkers then it should be dissolved. We are already fed up of paying bribes to officials.”
J. D Gupta, a vendor from Evershine Nagar, Malad (W) said, “It’s my right to obtain a hawking license and I am not begging for it. The Town Vending Committee must work for the welfare of hawkers.”