Just like last year, this year too the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) has decided to allot space to hawkers selling edible items during the month of Ramzan, which is just 17 days away, at Golibar Maidan. Last year the board had received complaints from resident committees and activists fighting for open spaces that hawkers would set up stalls by the roadside and other available nooks and corners, leading to traffic jams.
The complainants had then said that they were okay with hawkers setting up stalls at Golibar Maidan, as it would prevent them from encroaching upon other open spaces. It had been observed that throughout the month of Ramzan, hawkers would set up illegal roadside stalls at Shivaji Market, Ambedkar Bhavan, MG Road, Azam Campus, among others, causing traffic jams and other security issues. “The maidan is our first preference, but discussions between the board and the Sirat Committee are still on. There should be no inconvenience to those observing and breaking fast (Iftaari) and we’ll do whatever we can,” PCB vice president Shivaji Kedari said.
Board members are expecting that just like the last year, this year too, hawking at the maidan in the evenings will be methodical and disciplined. Some of the members also said that vendors and caterers are miffed with the board’s decision, of allotting them spaces at the maidan, as they feel it will affect their business.
In one of their complaints, some of the resident committee members had alleged that even though the PCB’s gazette notification of January 1, 1944, states that no licence should be issued to stalls in restricted areas of Dr Saldhana Street, Blundell Road, Dwayer Lane, Shaikh Jan Mohammed Street and places within 25 yards of any road crossing, the board members are allowing hawkers to operate every year, undercertain provisions and payment of fees. “The cantonment laws are specific and have banned hawking in several places in areas under board’s purview.
During Ramzan, the hawkers are not allowed to go beyond the restricted areas. But they still put up stalls in and around all open spaces. On any given day, one can find around 300 hawkers in the above-mentioned areas, but during Ramzan the number doubles,” T Om Prakash, a local, said. Referring to the Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling advocate Prakash Bhog said that no hawking should be allowed near educational and religious institutions and on streets. He also said that the hawkers breach rules.
Considering the complaints the civic body has been receiving against the encroachment by hawkers, the municipal commissioner’s office has given an assurance in writing, saying that since the police is aware of the traffic congestion and encroachment during Ramzan, it will not allow illegal hawking in areas, including Dastur Meher Road, Sachapir Road, B Moledina Road, MG Road, Ambedkar Bhavan and near Shivaji Market.