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Hawking - the questions rise again

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Urban DevelopmentGovernance

Recently, a group of residents from certain streets in Koramangala petitioned to the ward level authorities to evict food-vending hawkers from the neighbourhood. Some were on pavements and some occupied vacant plots. After many meetings, the authorities obliged. In some cases, the carts reappeared the same day.

What was interesting was the reaction of a number of residents who sprang to the defence of the hawkers. These defenders had not seen the hawkers, had not witnessed the eviction, and did not live anywhere near to experience the problems created for the nearby residents by these hawkers. Yet, they felt that the evictions were brutal and felt that the residents who petitioned for the eviction lacked conscience.

However, when the vendor occupies a space in front of one's house, one's perception changes. They are no longer a service but a nuisance.

Suggestions
Every BDA layout has a BDA Complex. BDA should make space for hawkers and their food courts in these complexes. These may eventually become tourist spots as the Food Street in Basavangudi. Within BDA layouts, which are primarily residential, there are commercial and shopping zones. Provision can be made in these areas for hawkers at nominal rentals. Micro finance institutions can be roped in by BDA and BBMP to support these hawkers. Hawking need not be a nuisance. Hawkers can become highly productive assets.

Removal of hawkers where they are not allowed by law is the job of the Corporation and BBMP. When they do not do this job, any aggrieved resident can trigger the eviction by a complaint to BBMP or Police. However, resettling hawkers requires a larger and stronger community effort.

For the full text of the interview of Ram S Ramanathan, a resident of Koramangala in the City Plus, click here

The suggestions look good and perhaps offer a solution to this touchy issue.

Muralidhar Rao

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