Remove hawkers near Railway Stations : Petition in Bombay HC

Says Municipal Corporation should use home guards to remove hawkers

MUMBAI: A petition has been filed in the Bombay high court against the illegal hawkers near the railway stations in the city and the municipal regions. The petition has sought the removal of all the illegal hawkers as well as action against the civic and police officers who shelter these hawkers by taking bribes from them. The petition has been filed by journalist Ketan Tirodkar and is likely to be heard on Friday.

The petitioner has stated in the petition that he has himself visited the railways stations and the region that comes under the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), after coming to know about the practice of civic authorities, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel collecting ‘haftas’ from the hawkers to allow them to set up their stalls in the premises.

The petitioner also gave the example of `8 lakh being collected every month from the Kurla railway station and the nearby areas.

The petitioner has alleged that the overall collection of ‘haftas’ by the RPF and the GRP as well as the civil police and civic body officials is to the tune of `2,000 crore per month in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, spanning over Mumbai, Thane, and Palghar and Raigad districts. This includes both civil areas as well as railway premises.

The petitioner further states that the civic bodies like BMC, Thane Municipal Corporation and the likes cite reasons like being short-staffed for being unsuccessful in dealing with illegal hawkers. He states that the Maharashtra state has a security corporation and home guards with strength of thousands of personnel, which can be used to remove these hawkers. He also states that the government does not pay the home guards properly, and the civic bodies can bridge the gap by paying them for taking their help in removing the hawkers.

The Thane Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Metro Rail authority too have been availing the services of the state security corporation for regular functioning. Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation has been using services of private bouncers for erasing illegal construction and the removal of hawkers.

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