MUMBAI: Two weeks of action has seen the removal of close to 5,000 illegal hawkers from the streets, said the BMC on Wednesday.
Records show that the city has only around 10,000 licensed hawkers.
While citizens complained that unauthorised hawkers return once the BMC staff go away after a crackdown, the BMC said continuous and rigorous action would ensure a reduction in the number of illegal hawkers.
Sunil Shah, president of the Dadar Vyapari Sangh said hawkers kept coming back and until the BMC did not send a strong message by taking continuous action the problem would not go away.
Additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Joshi said that this time they had changed the way civic staff was deployed and monitored. In an effort to ensure impartiality and avoid allegations of favouritism, the BMC shuffled its officers and did not send them to their own localities to take action.
“We have also implemented a system that requires our officers on the ground to send their site locations regularly to the office staff. So there is a check being kept on the drive at every level,” Joshi said, adding that in areas like Dadar the civic body had tried its best to keep the footpath hawker-free.
“I have been monitoring the drive and action is only being taken against unauthorised vendors,” she said.
The BMC is this time focusing on specific high footfall areas where the number of illegal hawkers has grown over the past years, such as Dadar, Parel, Fort, Malad and Ghatkopar. These localities were identified as hot spots for unauthorised hawking activities.
The BMC dumped all confiscated material like handcarts and cylinders in its godowns. “All the confiscated material is brought to the civic ward and accounted for. After this we take it to the godown. Over the course of the next few months it is destroyed and the material is auctioned. Gas cylinders are given into the possession of the company which it belongs to,” a civic official said.