Cleaning up Mumbai has taken a different turn for BMC officials. Instead of cleaning up the city from the dirt and filth, the Bruhan Mumbai Mahanagarpalika and Mumbai Police have embarked on a drive to rid Mumbai of illegal hawkers. I am totally supporting the action being taken by both, but has anybody taken time out and dared to think of the consequences?
Ever since the transfer of ACP Dhoble, the BMC and Mumbai Police have taken it on themselves to get rid of the illegal hawkers peddling wares outside railway stations and elsewhere. This hawkers not only sell their wares but also congest the place, causing huge traffic jams (as in case of Hill Road, Bandra). They also tend to usually create lot of rubbish and debris where ever they sell their goods.
Most of these hawkers are migrants who have come to Mumbai with a dream of better life in their eyes. Hawking is one of the easiest ways to earn living in Mumbai. With a minimum investment of Rs.500.00 to 1000.00 a petty hawker can start peddling his wares. They may create unnecessary mess but they also form the life blood of Mumbai's economy in a small way. Mumbaikars depend on them for almost all their daily needs from news papers to vegetables.
Though it would be foolish to deny the nuisance they generate both in terms of traffic and rubbish they generate. Therefore you will always find them at the opposite end of the pole with the authorities as well as citizens of that particular area.
All said and done, has any one given a thought as to what these hawkers will do after BMC and Police action against them. There are round about 30 major Railway stations in Mumbai and there are around 100 hawkers at any given time at each of this stations. That comes to round about 3000 people who will be unemployed at the end of the drive by the Authorities. Add to that the countless others who sell their wares at street corners, bus depots and other busy areas. Thus the authorities are generating a lot of unemployment due to above drive.
What will happen to the people who get unemployed thus? Some may turn to some other work, some may find job as waiters or odd job worker in many of the construction sites. But what if a individual, whose daily earning depends on the hawking and peddling decides to join the crime. What if he is influenced by the pseudo religious leaders of variety of castes and creed in Mumbai to do something drastic and anti national like terrorism.
If the authorities are intent on cleaning up Mumbai, I welcome it, but at the same time they must make alternate arrangements for employment generation to the burgeoning unemployed class so that a equilibrium is maintained. If not that we will have to face a big WHAT IF? question later on.
However, as far as I know Mumbaikars, the hawkers will be up and running, selling their wares as fast as write and post my blog.
Kindly post your comments on the above article.