Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam on Tuesday alleged that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials and leaders of the Shiv Sena and BJP, which rule the civic body, have been extorting money from hawkers, which, he claimed, was the reason why the civic body was still not implementing the Hawkers’ Regulation and Protection Act, 2014.
Arguing that the action being taken by the civic body against hawkers across the city was inappropriate, Nirupam said, “BMC is not supposed to take action against hawkers until they implement the Hawkers’ Regulation and Protection Act 2014. We are not supporting illegal hawkers, neither are we in support of hawkers encroaching foot overbridges and railway overbridges. But we will stand by genuine hawkers and keep supporting them.”
Addressing a press conference at the office of the Opposition leader in the BMC and Congress corporator Ravi Raja, Nirupam said, “The Hawkers’ Regulation and Protection Act 2014, passed by the UPA government, mandates setting up of a Town Vending Committee (TVC), which will conduct a survey of hawkers. Further, classification of hawking and non-hawking zones needs to be done. However, once the TVC is set up and a survey is conducted, illegal hawkers will be evicted and the money extorting activity of Shiv Sena and BJP along with some top BMC officials will stop. Hence they are purposely delaying the process.”
He added, “While Shiv Sena and BJP were involved, now Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) too has joined the bandwagon in the name of public safety.”
Nirupam, along with Ravi Raja and other BMC corporators of the party, former MLA Charan Singh Sapra, and General Secretary of the Mumbai Congress Bhushan Patil met BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta at the civic headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.
After discussing the issue of hawkers, Nirupam demanded that the BMC revoke its decision to stop picking up wet garbage from big housing societies. He said, “It is the BMC’s responsibility to pick up the garbage from societies and they cannot shirk their responsibility. This will result in people resorting to throwing garbage outside. It will give rise to another big problem. We have demanded that the BMC must not stop picking up garbage from housing societies.”