West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a policy aimed at legalising hawking in the state.
"We are the first state government in the country which has decided to legalise hawking. This will ensure you are not evicted by anybody. We have formulated a policy for the hawkers. We are the first in the country to start the process of registering vendors and hawkers," Banerjee said here following a meet with the hawkers.
Banerjee’s announcement follows a 72-hour shutdown by shopkeepers in the city’s New Market against the hawker menace.
The shopkeepers have been contending that it was becoming difficult for them to stay in the business as hawkers, apart from competing with cheaper goods, block shop facades preventing the entry of shoppers.
Banerjee said the process of registration will begin on July 15 and continue for three months, and dedicated counters will be set up for the process.
"The process of verifying the applications will be carried out between January and March. Once, verified, you will be given a registration certificate and free trade license. But this facility is available only for the existing hawkers," said Banerjee.
The chief minister also urged the hawkers not to encroach the shop keepers or inconvenience pedestrians.