Nagpur: In a major decision, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) rehabilitated a total of 142 hawkers, including 81 in Sitabuldi’s Netaji Market and 61 in Kumbhartoli, by providing them with alternate place. This information was given to the Nagpur Bench of High Court by NMC on Wednesday (January 20). Similarly, action is taken from time to time against hawkers who encroach upon the market places. After the hearing, Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Pradeep Deshmukh directed the Nagpur Feriwala Sanghatana to submit a detailed affidavit and fixed the next hearing after four weeks.
However, it is being observed that despite High Court’s orders on determining the ‘Hawker Zone,” dozens of hawkers continue to encroach many places in markets. At the same time, it is being observed that the NMC and police department are found insensitive towards problems being faced by the citizens created by hawkers. Even the Sitabuldi Merchants’ Association had filed a contempt petition in this regard. Accordingly, the Municipal Commissioner submitted an affidavit in the High Court. The NMC told the Court that the affidavit is a response to the contempt petition filed by Merchants’ Association.
In 2001, Nagpur Hawkers Sanghatana had filed a writ petition against police action. The petition had stated that the police remove the hawkers from one place to other but do not provide alternate place to them. It is violation of basic right to carry out business, stated the petition. Giving a ruling on the petition, the High Court said that it is not proper to carryout business on roads and at the same time directed the Government to prepare “Hawker Zone” Policy. Accordingly, “Hawker Zone” and Non-Hawker Zone” were to be determined. However, no such zones were determined forcing the hawkers to file a fresh petition in the court.
Subsequently, the Municipal Commissioner submitted the affidavit and announced creation of 16 ‘Hawker Zones.’ A total of 1000 hawkers were shifted to the ‘hawker zones,’ stated the affidavit. However, the Sitabuldi Merchants’ Association, in its contempt petition, charged that the policy is not being implemented properly. The petition further stated that due to encroachment in area like Sitabuldi, riding or driving vehicles has become impossible. At present, around 40,000 registered hawkers are in Nagpur and they have even remitted the necessary charges for receiving licenses from NMC.
However, due to non-implementation of “Hawker Zone Policy,” citizens, hawkers, and shoppers are being hassled.
Adv Tushar Mandalekar represented the petitioner while Adv Sudhir Puranik argued on behalf of NMC.