Mamata Banerjee gives one month to hawkers to clear encroachment, forms panel to survey areas

Banerjee’s statement came amid the ongoing eviction of encroachers including hawkers from various parts of the state.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 12:08 IST

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Kolkata: Stating that hawkers' eviction is not the goal of the West Bengal government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday gave them one month to clear the footpaths and the stretch of roads they have encroached on to carry on with their business.

Banerjee’s statement came amid the ongoing eviction of encroachers including hawkers from various parts of the state.

The chief minister, who held a review meeting regarding the issue of hawkers' encroachment, also constituted a committee to conduct a survey in this regard and submit a report to her office within 15 days.

She said that the state government would identify "hawking zones" in the state, erect buildings to accommodate the hawkers, godowns for keeping their wares and issue identity cards to them.

"I have no right to take away anyone's source of income or render anyone unemployed. Millions run their family by doing hawking. There will be no eviction for one month. During this period, the hawkers have to clear footpaths," said Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo.

"We will conduct a survey. The government will see where legal hawkers can be accommodated. Godowns will also be set up. But roads cannot be occupied. If new hawkers are found (encroaching footpaths), they will be arrested," she said.

Senior ministers, bureaucrats and police officers, mayors of all corporations, and chairmen of municipalities were present in the meeting.

Banerjee asserted that political leaders and policemen were responsible for occupying the streets.

"Councilors should have kept a watch on this from the start. But they don't even see it. If you help a new hawker (to encroach), you will be arrested. The leaders of the area first take money (from hawkers) and allow them to sit and start doing business. Afterwards they bulldoze them... This cannot be allowed," she said.

"What is the use of blaming the hawkers? It's our fault. Why are we not making a building in the New Market area? The hawkers will be shifted there,'' Banerjee stated.

Established during British rule, New Market, which was earlier known as Hogg Market, is a market complex in Esplanade region in the heart of Kolkata. The market area is crowded with hawkers.

The chief minister said she would review the situation in a month.

She also ordered removal of all illegal parking lots in and around Kolkata.

Banerjee said her government will not allow littering streets with garbage.

Published 27 June 2024, 12:08 IST

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