BMC losing Rs 15 Lakh a month trying to keep hawkers at bay

Every month, the corporation spends over Rs 42 lakh to pay the labourers it assigns to evict illegal hawkers from the streets, across 24 wards. These labourers confiscate the goods on sale, fine the hawkers, and return to report to the BMC.

'no-hawking zone' sign at Hill Road in Bandra
Now you see it, now you don’t: MiD DAY had reported in July how the ‘no-hawking zone’ sign at Hill Road in Bandra is taken down by hawkers at around 4 pm every day and replaced in the night. File Pic

Hours later, the hawkers also return to their spots. And life goes on for both parties, with little having changed. Only, this entire cycle leaves the BMC poorer by about Rs 15 lakh every month.

In the month of August alone, the civic body spent over Rs 42 lakh for the removal of 13,000 hawkers from the city. The evictions were mostly conducted in the southern and the western parts of the city, with 2,325 hawkers being uprooted from the streets of Borivli.

The money earned back by the corporation by way of auction of confiscated goods and fines was Rs 26 lakh. This means that the corporation suffered a loss of Rs 16 lakh in the entire process.

The average loss incurred by BMC in this manner is 15 lakh per month.

A senior officer from the license department said, “The problem is that there is no strict punishment for them, which results in encroachment. The civic body does not give permission to stalls on footpaths and streets, and so they are charged a fine and then let off.”

Sharad Bande, superintendent of the licence department said, “If there was a punishment for them, then probably the corporation could have saved the money it spends assigning labourers for the removal of these hawkers. On an average, the corporation faces a loss of Rs 15 lakh every month as the collection from the fines and the auction is hardly Rs 23-25 lakh every month.”

A member of Khar Residents Association, Anandini Thakoor, who has been campaigning against the hawkers in her area, said, “They have become a never-ending nuisance in the city which needs to be stopped immediately. The corporation needs to levy strict punishment and keep tabs on the place from where they’ve been removed.”

Ashok Pandit, member of the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Citizens’ Association, said, “In spite of the rounds and the removals of unauthorised hawkers, there is no result, as at the end of the day the hawkers come back to the same spot. We want a permanent relief and not a temporary one, especially with such huge losses being incurred every month.”¬†

Number of illegal hawkers the BMC removes every month from the streets 

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