Former deputy Mayor of Mumbai to sit on fast for hawkers' cause

Apr 09, 2018, 22:09 IST | PTI

Bhawanji, who heads the Mumbai Hawkers Unit, said he and other members would sit on a hunger strike near Veer Kotwal Udyan in Dadar (W) from April 11.

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Politics over hawkers' issue may hot up again in the country's financial capital, with former deputy Mayor Babubhai Bhawanji of the BJP today announcing a hunger strike for the welfare of street vendors, a massive vote bank being courted by various national parties.

Bhawanji, who heads the Mumbai Hawkers Unit, said he and other members would sit on a hunger strike near Veer Kotwal Udyan in Dadar (W) from April 11. "Our Constitution gives rights to everyone to live and to earn. But here in Mumbai, which is dominated by the Shiv Sena, the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) and police are dealing with hawkers in a cruel manner, which is condemnable and unacceptable," he said.

He claimed that a national Hawkers Policy formulated during the tenure of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government has not been implemented in Mumbai. Bhawanji said hawkers should be allowed to sell their wares at skywalks in the city that are lying under-utilized until a comprehensive policy comes into force.

"If hawkers start selling at skywalks, it will prompt pedestrians to start using the facility, which in turn, will ease the traffic congestion on the roads," he reasoned. Mumbai city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam recently lent support of the party to hawkers who were attacked by Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The MNS projects itself as the true custodian of Marathi-speaking people in the city given that most of the hawkers are north Indians.

The Shiv Sena, which used to target hawkers in the past, appeared to have mellowed down a bit probably due to political expediency.

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