Mumbai: Hawkers want to take over skywalks too

Jan 12, 2015, 12:28 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

A hawkers union has written to the BMC and the MMRDA asking for space to be allotted to them on the skywalks since the authorities themselves claim that pedestrians are not using them

Angry at licences not being issued and space not being demarcated for them, hawkers in the city have been filing court cases against the BMC and the police, alleging that they are being denied their rights and that the Supreme Court order on the issue is not being followed.

Last refuge: BMC officials said the skywalks are still being maintained by the MMRDA and have not been handed over to them. File pic

Now, a hawkers union in the city has asked for space to be given to them on skywalks. Members of the Lohia Vichar Manch Hawkers Union, have written to the BMC and the MMRDA, arguing that since the skywalks are not finding enough takers among pedestrians, it makes sense to allocate space to hawkers there.

This suggestion was also put forward at various town vending committee meetings after the BMC had claimed it was falling short of places to demarcate as hawking zones. Hawkers had also suggested that they should be allowed to sell their wares in open spaces. “I have written to the BMC and MMRDA asking them to give hawkers space on skywalks, which the authorities claim are not being used.

This was also suggested in town vending committee meetings. We understand the space issue and hence the concept of Dilli Haat was also suggested, which was also on the agenda of the BMC at one point of time, but saw no progress. About 20,000 hawkers can be easily accommodated on 30-odd skywalks in the city,” said Rambabu Gupta, president, Lohia Vichar Manch Hawkers Union.

Official speak
BMC officials said the skywalks are still being maintained by the MMRDA and are yet to be handed over to the civic body and that the issue of demarcating spaces for hawkers is being looked into.

BMC Licence
Superintendent Sharad Bande said, “We still do not have the skywalks with us and what we are looking at is placing these hawkers along the roads and nowhere else.

The skywalks are hardly 4-5 metres wide and if 2 metres of that is eaten up by hawkers, it would be unfair to pedestrians.”

MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “The process of handing over skywalks to the BMC is on and will be completed only after the joint inspection.”

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