Top cop whip on hawkers in Calcutta

Cops to ensure that number of hawkers don't increase and plastic sheets are removed from pavement stalls

  • Published 30.03.19, 11:10 AM
  • Updated 30.03.19, 11:49 AM
  • a min read
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Calcutta police commissioner Anuj Sharma Telegraph file picture

Calcutta police commissioner Anuj Sharma on Friday told all police stations in the city not to allow any new hawker, sources said.

He also stressed that plastic sheets should be removed from hawkers’ stalls on the pavements.

Sharma, who took over as commissioner of the city police on February 19, was speaking at a crime conference at the police training school. The monthly crime review is chaired by the police commissioner and attended by the officer-in-charge of all 70 police stations and other senior officers.

“Officers were told to ensure that the number of hawkers in the city does not increase and plastic sheets are removed from pavement stalls,” said a source.

In January, a devastating fire in a five-storey building at the Gariahat crossing, which housed popular sari shops Adi Dhakeswari Bastralaya and Traders Assembly, had prompted mayor Firhad Hakim to announce a ban on the use of sheets made of plastic, tarpaulin or any other inflammable material on pavement stalls.

It was suspected that the fire had spread to the building from a roadside stall.

Metro has reported a number of times that hawkers across the city are violating the plastic ban and another order issued by the mayor — not to sit within 50ft of major crossings.

This newspaper had on March 25 reported that four of the nine hawkers off Deshapriya Park, in south Calcutta, who were given new stalls in December had started covering their units with plastic sheets to prevent their wares from getting wet.

Those nine were among the 200 hawkers in south Bengal who were given stalls for free by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority. The nine stalls are along Rashbehari Avenue, between the crossing with Sarat Bose Road and the gate of Deshapriya Park.

As for the number of hawkers, Calcutta Municipal Corporation sources said the police had done a survey in 2012 to arrive at a figure. “It is difficult to ascertain whether the hawker count is going up or not,” a civic official said.

At the crime conference, Sharma also asked the officers-in-charge to intensify the drive to seize illicit liquor ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and closely monitor the trials in the cases registered with the respective police stations.