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  Home >> Hawkers >> The Hawkers Proliferation - The Economics & Impact of the problem  


 The Hawkers Proliferation 
The Economics & Impact of the problem

The Hawkers proliferation is a serious problem throughout the city. They initially occupy the streets with a mobile handcart & then gradually set up more permanent structures over time after people have got used to them. They are then able to sell these illegal shops for huge sums & move over to a new place to create another such illegal shop all over again.  

All this should not worry us if it did not affect us, but unfortunately this activity impacts us far more than we realize. Eg. If there were no hawkers choking our roads & footpaths:  

a)       There would be practically no traffic jams & our commute time every day would reduce irrespective of whether we commute by bus, autorickshaw or car, a traffic jam at one spot – say near a railway station due to hawkers encroachment) quickly spreads to other areas by slowing down the general speed of traffic movement.

b)       The road accidents would reduce by more than 90%

c)       The overall safety while walking on roads would increase.

d)       Peoples health would increase as they would walk a little more rather than taking autorickshaws even for the shortest distance.

e)       Asthama & other respiratory problems would decrease due to less traffic snarls.  

Besides this the BMC & police are corrupted due to this menace and the the reward from participating in an illegal action spurs the tendency to repeat & commit other wrongs thus damaging the moral fabric of society.  

This process of hawkers encroachment can be carried out successfully due to three reasons:  

1.       The people do not care enough to protest & also encourage them by buying stuff from them.  

2.       The BMC is shortstaffed & has no motivation or incentive to tackle the problem. Infact the bribes allegedly paid by hawkers is an incentive to ignore the problem when supported by citizens apathy.  

3.       The politicians see the hawkers as a vote bank & a source of funds (the bribes received daily are shared between police, BMC and politicians). They will therefore allow proliferation in case the citizens do not protest.  

The people do not make a connection between their action of buying things from hawkers and the spread of the nuisance. We would appeal to all residents in the area to help in curbing the hawkers menace by doing the following:  

                                               i.            Please do not ever buy anything from hawkers.

                                             ii.            In case you receive home delivery of any fruits/vegetables etc. please ensure the vendor has a proper legal shop.

                                            iii.            In case your maid / servant is buying groceries please instruct them not to buy from streetside hawkers.

                                            iv.            Please be ready to pay slightly more or go the extra mile to buy or get services only from legal shops.

                                              v.            Please be active in complaining to BMC or your local ALM in case of Hawker proliferation in your area.

                                            vi.            Please be fearless in raising your voice against this menace, when we are united in fighting the problem no one can cause any harm.

                                           vii.            Peoples apathy in trying to buy their requirements as close to their house as possible- even if the vendor is an illegal encroacher, leads to proliferation of illegal hawkers while the municipal markets & other legal shops are less frequented.  

Finally people often think that it is a question of the livelihood of the hawkers. The truth is that the hawkers themselves are a victim of the current situation, They are forced to work in an environment of insecurity, create a public nuisance by blocking footpaths & pay daily bribes. The development plan created by BMC for the entire area is supposed to provide for adequate markets to serve people’s needs. If the BMC created such markets & allowed hawkers to lease out space in the markets we would have a situation where the hawkers can freely do their business in a good environment, the rent would be equal to or less than the bribes paid by these hawkers currently and the people would get to buy their needs in a much better environment than the chaotic & pollution filled roadsides. Who would be a loser in this situation – The politicians, BMC and police would lose a major source of bribes. Also the unscrupulous elements who try to create property rights for themselves by encroaching public property and causing a major inconvenience to the public would now have to work for a living.  

Every individuals actions and awareness will lead to a solution. If we have lived in apathy for the last 50 years we need to start doing the right things for the next 5 years & this city will become a great place to live.        

"Jagruti Desai" <>

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner