BMC's solution to tackle illegal hawkers in Mumbai after dark: Night vigil team

BMC considers putting together a night vigil team to tackle illegal hawkers who come out after dark and create a nuisance for pedestrians on sidewalks

Representation pic
Representation pic

Hawkers running with a sackful of their wares to hide in bylanes when civic officials arrive at the spot for inspection, and then, returning to continue with business as soon as the van drives off - this, the return in particular, is likely to be a thing of the past if Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC's) plan comes to fruition. The BMC is mulling over setting up night squads to do the rounds and take action against illegal hawkers.

The BMC may even set up a complaint number to tackle illegal vendors and their encroachment at night. Representation pic
The BMC may even set up a complaint number to tackle illegal vendors and their encroachment at night. Representation pic

According to a source, on Saturday, during the monthly review meeting of civic officials, Additional Municipal Commissioner I A Kundan had suggested creating a team that could be on the streets after dark. An official, who was present in the meeting, said that currently BMC's team takes action against illegal hawkers from 10 am to 5 pm, and many hawkers come back after BMC offices shut for the day.

Also read - Viral video: BJP MLA Ameet Satam gets violent with hawkers outside Mumbai college

Illegal hawkers
Absence of civic staff at night encourages illegal hawkers to take over footpaths, causing inconvenience to pedestrians and even motorists. Kundan told mid-day, "In the evening, the number of hawkers increases, as they know there will be no civic officials to take action. Hence, the idea is to have a dedicated team for nights. We could also give a complaint number that would be attended by an official in the disaster management units of local wards."

Also read - Mumbai: Hawkers rough up BMC official who came to tear down illegal shops

"The dedicated staff could be deployed in areas from where most citizen calls regarding illegal hawkers are received," she added.

What a good idea!
Officials, however, said the plan was at a very nascent stage and it would be a while before it took shape. A civic official said that during the discussion Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and other top officials were keen on the idea.

Also read: Brutal! Ruthless Mumbai cops throw and kick veggies of illegal hawkers

Also read: Officials rid Badlapur skywalk of hawkers themselves

Citizens too think it's a good idea, if implemented properly, to free footpaths and roadsides of encroachment. "At night, most footpaths get completely encroached on by illegal food stalls and hawkers. And with no BMC staff patrolling, there is no fear in vendors. If such a team is formed, it will definitely curb the menace up to a certain level," said Worli resident Sandesh Tiwari.


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