Sigh of relief for Mumbai hawkers

Union Minister Ajay Maken takes up the eviction issue with Maharashtra Chief Minister and declares No Eviction till Livelihood Protecting Legislation Gets Enacted by Parliament

Mr. Maken also meets NASVI and Azad Hawkers Union representatives in Delhi and Mumbai as well as family members of late Madan Jaiswal who died in eviction drive launched by the police in Mumbai on 11 January, 2013

45 days long struggle of  hawkers/vendors of Mumbai under the banner of National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) and its Mumbai based affiliate Azad Hawkers Union against large scale eviction of hawkers in Mumbai and the solidarity  action of street vendors in Delhi, Lucknow, Patna and several other cities and towns in southern and northern states as well as the support intervention in the form of joint appeal made by National Advisory Council Member (NAC) member Mirai Chatterjee, Tata Institute of Social Sciences professor Sharit Bhowmik, Center for Equity Studies director Harsh Mander and Self Employed Women Association leaders Renana Jhabvala and Manali Shah to the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation  have finally yielded result with both the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ajay Maken and the Maharashtra Chief Minister agreeing that no eviction should take place till the time Parliament enacts the much awaited Street Vendors ( Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act.  The Government of India is committed to ensure the enactment of the Act in the current session of Parliament, the Union Minister Ajay Maken has said.

A two member committee comprising of Professor Sharit Bhowmik, TISS and Dr. Rohit Shinkre, Rachna Sansad Academy of Architecture has also been formed by the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to look into the details of identifying new vending spaces for suitable restoration of hawkers.

On 22 February, a six member delegation led by NASVI National Coordinator Arbind Singh and Azad Hawkers Union leaders Dayashankar Singh and Anis Fatima called on the Union Minister Ajay Maken in Delhi seeking his immediate intervention to ensure stop on eviction of hawkers in Mumbai.

On 26 February, Mr. Maken reached Mumbai and took up the matter of harassment and eviction of vendors in Mumbai with the Maharashtra Chief Minister. Besides meeting the vendor/hawkers representatives in Mumbai, the minister also met the family members of late Madan Jaiswal, who had died in the eviction drive launched by the police in the Vakola area of the city on 11 January, 2013. The Member of Parliament from Mumbai North-Central Priya Dutt and Azad Hawkers Union President Dayashankar Singh accompanied the minister.

Later on the day, Mr. Maken, along with a group of street vendor leaders, also addressed the media persons in Mumbai and said that the UPA Government was committed to protect the livelihood of street vendors of the country and towards that end the government was set to bring in central legislation. The legislation would go a long way helping street vendors earn their secured and dignified livelihood. The street vendors and other sections of urban poor have lot of expectations from the government, he said.

“It is sad to know about the eviction of street vendors/hawkers in the city. I have been told that the hawkers in many areas of the city are having a very tough time due to eviction. Such things are happening at the time when the Government of India is all set to bring in a comprehensive central legislation to protect the livelihood of street vendors. I have taken up the matter with the State Chief Minister and we have agreed that there should not be any eviction and displacement till the time central legislation is enacted”, the Union Minister told journalists.

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