The BMC’s hawker registration drive which was meant to regulate the hawkers has brought more vendors on streets. When the hawker registration drive began last week several fake hawkers were found on the footpaths selling food items, fruits and vegetables. These people received support from agents who were helping them in the registration process. They were selling the hawker registration form which costs Rs 100 for Rs 1000. The agents were assisting them in providing backdated receipts.
More and more illegal hawkers are bullying civic officials and local associations for getting themselves registered. Fake hawkers were demanding that even their names should be registered along with genuine hawkers. Many of them don’t even possess the required documents necessary for registration. When citizens complained about this matter with the BMC they turned a blind eye towards this issue. This only goes to show the alleged nexus between the civic body officials, agents and police officials. Even the police failed to take any action in this regard. When some citizens raised questions about the hawker registration drive, the agents threatened them of dire consequences.
Since large number of hawkers was present on the street hence citizens were finding it difficult to walk on footpaths. Even the traffic was moving at snail’s pace at Akurli road in Kandivali. This incident only goes to show the rampant corruption prevalent in the country. If registrations are happening in this manner then you can imagine how much corruption will be prevalent in every other department.
For getting a bonafide hawking licence a hawker will have to furnish several documents like aadhar card, pan card, ration card, voter id. Besides this vendors will have to prove that they have been running their business for 10 years. For this they will have to produce the BMC penalty challan in support of their claim. The new Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act proposes hawking licences for 2.5 per cent of the city population. With the 2011 census pegging the city population at 1.25 crore, the BMC may have to issue over 3.12 lakh licences. However, the manner in which the registration drive was conducted has been criticised by citizens, corporators and opposition parties. To make matters worse even the BMC municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte’s name has been registered as hawker.
The BMC has been saying that only photographing of hawkers and collection of forms are happening right now. The civic body said that it will thoroughly scrutinise the forms and weed out bogus applicants. They will also refer the fine challans and goods seized from hawkers to recognise bonafide vendors. The MNS has seriously objected to the hawkers’ registration process and had protested outside Kunte’s residence. By carrying out such kind of survey injustice is being meted out against the genuine hawkers who have been earning their livelihood in the city for many years. The BMC must streamline the hawker registration process and only register bonafide hawkers. They need to inform the ward officers and citizen groups to keep a vigil on fake vendors who turn up during the survey. Licence must be only issued to those vendors who possess proper documents in support of their application.