Home > Indian Economy, Politics > Hawker bill proposes 6-month jail

Hawker bill proposes 6-month jail


Quietly, the Government has decided that Mumbai hawkers will be banished out of sight, without sound. It stinks of elitist power abuse.

Why fight? Collude …

It is amazing what political consensus (some call it collusion) can achieve. Quietly, in the Winter session of the Maharashtra legislature, this anti-hawker bill was passed. Without a word of protest. Every political party – Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena joined hands to ensure passage of this bill.

Political Santa Claus 'accept' gifts before distributing 'favors'. Welcome to the 'modern' Welfare State. Bought and sold, even before you can say 'Constitution of India'! (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; Pub: Dec 2009) Click for larger images.

Political Santa Claus 'accept' gifts before distributing 'favors'. Welcome to the 'modern' Welfare State. Bought and sold, even before you can say 'Constitution of India'! (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; Pub: Dec 2009) Click for larger images.

In a bid to control illegal hawkers across Mumbai, the state legislative council on Tuesday passed a bill that proposes a jail term of six months along with a penalty ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 for individuals indulging in unauthorized hawking.Any unauthorized hawker caught red-handed would be fined Rs 5,000 the first time. If caught again, the fine would progressively increase and a repeated hawker would attract the maximum fine of Rs 50,000.

The bill will now go to the governor for his assent.(via Hawker bill proposes 6-month jail).

According to estimates, there are over 2.5 lakh illegal hawkers in Mumbai, while only 17,000 vendors hold valid licences. Interestingly, the BMC has not issued a single new licence in the last 20 years, while the number of hawkers continues to grow with every passing year, sources disclosed.

As stated in the Tuesday bill, “It will be mandatory for each individual who wishes to start a hawking business to obtain a licence from the civic body. The definition of hawkers covers roadside vendors and persons conducting business on roads and artisans.” (via Hawker shocker, News – Cover Story – Mumbai Mirror).

With such political ‘unity’, when all political parties unite against the citizens, India will surely ‘progress.’

The Government must not stop at this.

Forget about questioning me. Have a TV to hear my answer ...? My only fear is that such an attitude may well be the reality. (Cartoonist - Kirtish Bhatt; Posted: Feb 18th, 2011). Click for larger image.

Forget about questioning me. Have a TV to hear my answer ...? My only fear is that such an attitude may well be the reality. (Cartoonist - Kirtish Bhatt; Posted: Feb 18th, 2011). Click for larger image.

Public interest

Further, the Government must acquire all hawking space. After acquiring the hawking space, roads must be broadened. These hawkers crowd roads and reduce the car-driving pleasure of the Uber-rich and the Unter-rich. The Uber-rich and the Unter-rich have a sacred right to the pleasure of comfortable car driving as per the latest UN’s Human Rights Charter.

Do not disturb

I would go further and recommend that the Government acquire hawking space so that the comfortable can remain comfortable.

Just like the Government acquires land for factories, so the rich can remain rich or become richer.

Discomfort to the Rich and Comfortable may turn these rare species into an endangered species. If the Rich and Comfortable turn into an endangered species, who will become the icons of Rising India?

The dirty, ragged hawker!

I command thee … Progress!

I am also not forgetting that the hawkers ‘snatch’ business from all the glitzy glass-and-chrome malls – a major crime.

After sinking thousands of crores in these prestigious glass-and-chrome malls, investors find themselves powerless in the face of these hawkers. Will the Government abandon these investors, who have invested thousands of crores for India’s prestige and progress.

So many poor people, in full public view is also bad, for the eyes. And bad for India’s image abroad.

The poor must remain quiet – and out of sight.

Make way for the bribe takers - These are not the bribe-tigers fighting corruption. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; source and courtesy - bamulahija.com). Click for larger image.

Make way for the bribe takers - These are not the bribe-tigers fighting corruption. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; source and courtesy - bamulahija.com). Click for larger image.

Only 6 Months in Jail?

The Government must not stop at just extorting heavy penalties and imprisoning these hawkers. This problem of hawkers will not go away by simple penalties and imprisonment.

I would suggest that instead of imprisonment or heavy fines, hawkers must face some light gun-fire.

By the way, most of these dirty, ragged hawkers are also dark brown or black in colour. Another good reason to shoot them. They should be shot.

Definitely, certainly, urgently.

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