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‘More manpower required to effectively tackle hawker problem’: Pune Cantonment Board CEO Subrat Pal | Pune News


Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) CEO Subrat Pal said his staff was doing their best to curb the hawker menace on MG Road. Speaking to The Indian Express, he, however, admitted that more manpower was required to effectively tackle the problem.

“We do not have enough staff to man the entire area. To ensure that hawkers do not return after we take action, we need at least one staff worker from the board for every 20-30 metres of footpath stretch from 4 pm to 10 pm,” the CEO said.

As part of a campaign, The Indian Express highlighted how even a casual stroll along MG Road, an iconic street in Pune, was nothing short of a nightmare with unauthorised hawkers laying siege to its footpaths and even spilling onto the road.

On weekends, vehicles crawl frustratingly on MG Road. The Pune Camp Merchants Association had, on December 1, sent a strongly-worded letter to the PCB and the police regarding their woes. They had pointed out that despite MG Road and other areas in the Cantonment being designated as ‘No Hawking Zones’, unauthorised hawkers continue to sell their goods on the footpaths.

Following The Indian Express campaign, action was taken by the board on Wednesday and Thursday evening. The PCB’s nuisance detection squad scoured the area from 5 pm to 9 pm on both days, confiscating hawkers’ goods.

Festive offer

“We are trying our best to deal with the hawker issue and have even sought help from the police, especially over the weekends,” Pal said. The board needs to employ more support staff as sustained efforts have to be taken to deal with the hawkers’ issue.

Staff shortage has been a concern for the PCB. While the board had announced recruitment for more than 160 vacant posts, the process has been kept in abeyance following directives from the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD). It was decided that the process would be on hold till the financial health of the 54 Cantonment boards in the country improves. However, the MoD clarified that recruitment can be allowed on a case-to-case basis.

Various posts in the board have to be filled, such as conservancy staff, health supervisors and lab attendants.

Pal acknowledged that the PCB was saddled with a revenue deficit. In April this year, the Centre cancelled the Vehicle Entry Tax levied on commercial vehicles entering the board’s jurisdiction. Collection of this tax (since 2001) was one of the major sources of revenue for the cash-strapped board. Earnings from property tax now account for a major part of the board’s income.





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