Friday, September 29, 2023

Bombay High Court directs Nagpur municipal commissioner to frame policy for hawkers

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The Bombay High Court has directed the Municipal Commissioner, Nagpur to consider framing proper policy for hawkers through a Town Vending Committee.

The Nagpur Division Bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Vrushali V. Joshi heard Suo Motu Public Interest Litigations (PILs) on the issue of crowding and congestion on the roads of Nagpur.

It was observed by the Bench that the issue of crowding and congestion on the roads of Nagpur has become more troublesome for citizens. In many instances, vehicles are seen parked on both sides of the road, thereby reducing space for smooth vehicular traffic. At many places the footpaths have been encroached by hawkers, vendors and stall owners. At some places, there are no such encroachments on the footpaths but they are littered with a lot of debris. As a result of encroachments and littering of footpaths, the pedestrians are unable to make use of the footpaths which are meant for them and they are required perforce to walk on the roads, thereby increasing the possibility of vehicular accidents. It is, therefore, necessary for the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to look into this issue urgently and to put in place proper parking policy and also a policy for removal of the encroachments and removal of the debris on the footpaths, mending of the footpaths and widening of footpaths so as to make them walkable for the pedestrians.

S.M. Puranik, the counsel for the Corporation, submitted that as per his instructions, parking policy has been already framed and he would try to obtain further instructions and if possible, place the parking policy on record on or before the next date.

While observing the issues raised herein need to be redressed at the earliest, the High Courty directed Municipal Commissioner, Nagpur to consider framing of proper policy for hawkers through Town Vending Committee.

The Bench noted that the Town Vending Committee has already been constituted on 06.10.2022 and the situation today is that the Town Vending Committee is still to identify the hawkers’ zone and frame a policy for the hawkers in Nagpur.

“Of course, till the time such zones are identified and such policy is framed, the hawkers, who have been issued license earlier would have right to sell their goods and commodities at the places designated for them as per the licenses, if any, but it would not be open to any other person or stall owner to set up his business either on the footpaths or by the sides of the road and therefore, it is necessary for the Commissioner, NMC, Nagpur to immediately identify such unlicensed hawkers and stall owners, who are carrying on their business on footpaths and road sides unauthorisedly, and remove them forthwith. Action taken report shall be submitted by the Commissioner, NMC, Nagpur on or before the next date,” the Court further directed.

It is also pointed out to the High Court that it had earlier issued directions to the Corporation to coordinate with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Limited and ensure electric poles in the middle of the road or obstructing vehicular traffic be removed immediately and reinstalled elsewhere.

While noting that these directions have still not been complied with by the Corporation the High Court directed the Municipal Commissioner, NMC, Nagpur, to look into this issue and ensure that these directions are complied with on or before the next date.

The Court has posted the matter on 01.03.2023.

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