The Maharashtra government on Monday told the Bombay High Court it does not intend to permit street vendors and hawkers to conduct their businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic as it is not possible to regulate them.
The government filed an affidavit in response to a public interest litigation filed by one Manoj Oswal, raising concerns ofstreetvendorsbeing without income due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Oswal in his plea argued that since hotels and restaurants are allowed to operate,streetvendorsshould also be allowed to conduct their business activities.
"Considering the present ground realities and the affect that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused on businesses and commercial activities, the state government does not intend to permit street vendors or hawkers to commence their businesses amid and post the lockdown, the government said in its affidavit.
The affidavit filed by Kishor Nimbalkar, secretary, disaster management, relief and rehabilitation department, said street vendors and hawkers fall in an unorganised sector and thus, it is very difficult to regulate their business.
"The state government presently does not intend to permit street vendors or hawkers to conduct their businesses even in non-containment zones or areas that are not in lockdown, mainly because it is difficult to implement conditions, if any and if at all, imposed on them to conduct their business, the affidavit said.
It said the civic body and police authorities are already over-burdened with COVID-19 related duties and hence, it would not be possible to expect them to regulate street vendors and hawkers.
The court last month asked the government to clarify its position on the issue, and said the government could consider framing a policy.
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