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Hawker survey resumes in New Market

This is to identify hawkers not adhering to hawking rules and to inform them about the rules that had stopped midway resumed again on Saturday

Subhajoy Roy | Published 27.11.22, 03:12 AM
Hawkers in New Market on Saturday.

Hawkers in New Market on Saturday.

Sanat Kr Sinha

The survey to identify hawkers not adhering to hawking rules and to inform them about the rules that had stopped midway resumed again on Saturday.

Debashis Kumar, a mayoral council member of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), was present during the inaugural few minutes of the survey at New Market.

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Kumar later told The Telegraph that the situation was “grim” and he found hawkers sitting on the road. The only positive change was the absence of plastic sheets, he said.

Hawking rules prepared by the state government bar hawkers from using plastic or other inflammable materials to cover their stalls, they cannot set up stalls facing the road or on the road. No part of the stall can encroach on the road. The hawkers should also leave at least two-thirds width of the pavement for pedestrians and set up their stalls on the remaining part of the footpath. They are not supposed to sit within 50ft of 58 important crossings in the city.

“We resumed the hawker survey on Saturday. It will go on for the next seven days. A report will be submitted to the town vending committee (TVC) based on the survey. The committee will then decide what action to take against hawkers who flout the rules,” said Kumar, who is also a member of the TVC.

“What I saw in New Market on Saturday was grim. The situation is very bad. For some reason, I did not see any plastic on Saturday. That is the only positive change I noticed,” Kumar said.

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, has empowered the TVC to take decisions about the identification and regulation of hawkers. The TVC is made up of hawkers, elected representatives, police officers and civic officials.

A KMC official said that a TVC meeting will be held in the first week of December.

The survey started in Gariahat on November 9. It was supposed to be done in Gariahat, Hatibagan and New Market. The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that the survey stopped midway without completing Gariahat and without even starting New Market. The survey had been completed only in Hatibagan.

Many Kolkatans said they are sceptical about the outcome of the survey. They said similar talks had been held and token actions taken earlier, too, but they did not sustain. Hawkers continue to occupy a majority of the width of footpaths and also flout other rules.

A fire that engulfed parts of Gurudas Mansion, a multi-storey building at the Gariahat crossing, in January 2019, had broken out and had allegedly spread from a stall on the footpath through plastic sheets tied over the stalls.

The KMC and the police tore down plastic sheets in stalls in some parts of the city for a few days after the fire. But the action soon fizzled out and the stalls were again covered with plastic sheets.

There are many stalls across the city encroaching on thoroughfares on occupying more than one-third with of footpath.

Last updated on 27.11.22, 03:19 AM
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