Hawkers running their businesses from pavements will have to pay Rs 500 when they receive certificates of vending that will recognise them as hawkers, the town vending committee of the city has proposed.
The committee is also considering imposing an annual fee of Rs 2,000 on recognised hawkers for services like waste cleaning. Both fees have to be paid to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
The town vending committees of cities and towns have been empowered by a central act passed in 2014 to take decisions to regulate hawking.
Now, hawkers do not have to pay any fee to the civic authorities. But multiple hawkers have alleged over the years that they have to pay an unofficial monthly bribe to political leaders and police.
If the town vending committee’s proposal is adopted, this will be the first time hawkers in the city will have to officially pay a fee to a civic authority or a government institution. They will get receipts for the payments.
The recognised hawkers will get an identity card along with the vending certificate. The vending certificates will be valid for a certain period and have to be renewed once its validity ends. “For every renewal a hawker has to pay Rs 500,” said a hawkers’ leader who is a member of the town vending committee.
“The certificate of vending will grant hawkers a recognition. It will also require the hawkers to follow certain rules. If any hawker is found to violate rules, the KMC will take action against him or her and may even cancel the certificate of vending,” said Debashis Kumar, mayoral council member who looks after hawkers’ issues at the KMC.
A senior official of the KMC said on Friday the town vending committee —which is made of hawkers’ leaders, elected representatives, civic officials and police — has proposed that hawkers pay a fee of Rs 500 for the certificate of vending.
“According to the proposal, the hawkers also have to pay an annual fee for the services they receive fromthe civic body. Many members of the committee have proposed Rs 2,000 as the annual fee. The committee members will be asked to give a written submission fixing Rs 2,000 as the annual fee,” said the official.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014 says “every street vendor shall pay such periodic maintenance charges for the civic amenities and facilities provided in the vending zones as may be determined by the local authority”.
The hawking rules framed by the state government say all hawkers have to leave at least two-thirds width of pavements free for pedestrians. The stalls cannot be covered with plastic sheets and no stall can face a road.