Sub: Resolving problems of and on account of hawkers in Vasant Kunj

To draw attention to Master Plan solutions for hawking in view of NGO initiated PMO policy for hawkers, 08/10/2001

Shri A B Vajpayee ji, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

PMO, South Block, New Delhi - 110011

Sub: Resolving problems of and on account of hawkers in Vasant Kunj


  1. Your recent intervention in favour of hawkers
  2. 10-year old Delhi Master Plan provisions for hawkers (outlined in Encl.1)
  3. About a hundred letters (enumerated in Encl.2) and hundreds of post cards sent by or on behalf of members of Vasant Kunj Rehri Patri Vyapari Ekta Manch this year to
    • DDA requesting implementation of 10-year old Master Plan provisions
    • Police, MCD and Federation requesting stopping harassment meanwhile
    • Urban Development minister for intervention re (a) and MLA, MLC and CM/Bhagidari Chairperson for intervention re (b)
    • Yourself, CVC and others re your intervention and, later, unchanged ground realities
    • Chairman, DUAC and CMD, HUDCO for specific matters

Respected Sir,

Ours is an apolitical forum of citizens’ groups that have come together to support planned development and oppose unplanned development in order to ensure equitable and environmentally and socially sustainable quality of life in our neighborhood. Forum members have been trying separately to engage with the authorities on particular issues in this pursuit and our common and clear purpose, besides the consistently apathetic attitude of the authorities, has brought us together.

We would like to bring to your kind attention the case of our member group, Vasant Kunj Rehri Patri Vyapari Ekta Manch. We are taking the liberty of writing to you on a local matter at a time when we know you would be pre-occupied with global matters because of your personal concern about the plight of hawkers.

  1. Like hawkers elsewhere, the Manch’s members provide useful services but face (even after your personal directions) harassment by the police, MCD, DDA and even some flat residents, etc, primarily because they are in ‘unplanned’ locations that are ‘illegal’ and do, at times, pose problems for others.
  2. Our forum believes that the performance-nuisance conflict inherent in hawking can best be addressed through planned spatial integration, as envisaged in Delhi’s statutory Master Plan (please see Encl.1). The idea of a haat or two in every municipal zone does not seem to us to be a very good one. For hawkers it will make business too competitive if too many are in one place. And the rest will have to travel for everyday needs like buying vegetables or getting chapals fixed.
  3. We further believe that through their continuing harassment hawkers (and, on account of the occasional nuisance that they pose here, even other residents) are really paying the price for DDA’s failure to implement Master Plan provisions.
  4. We are, furthermore, very pained by DDA’s utter indifference to legitimate appeals by citizens – both hawkers and residents – to resolve problems arising from its own failures:
    • Vasant Kunj Rehri Patri Vyaypari Ekta Manch has left no stone unturned in its nine month long effort to secure implementation of unambiguous provisions in the Master Plan. It wrote numerous letters (Encl.2). It commissioned a detailed report that spells out for DDA’s convenience how these provisions can still be implemented. It hosted a press conference. It even demonstrated for weeks outside DDA’s Master Plan office. But it failed to move DDA.
    • The Federation of RWAs of Vasant Kunj also wrote – out of enlightened self-interest – in support of the hawkers’ demands. But it, too, failed to move DDA.
  5. We are also very pained by the indifference of the ‘system’ to even Prime Ministerial directions. In the attitude of DDA and MCD there has been no change since your clear directions were reported. Hawkers’ harassment by MCD seems to have actually increased rather than decreased. And DDA continues to ignore the request for Master Plan implementation and, in an unprecedented action on September 29th, its officials confiscated goods of several hawkers here.
  6. We are also very pained by our elected representatives’ inability to effectively intervene. Although our MLA and Councilor both lent support to the demonstration outside DDA’s Master Plan office, neither seems to be in a position to ensure either that DDA does its job of Plan implementation or that the police and MCD act in line with your directions.
  7. We are also very pained by the fact that the discussions that led to and followed your intervention in the matter of Delhi’s hawkers did not make and are still not making any reference to statutory Master Plan provisions for hawkers. We believe that if the ‘system’ is allowed to become so non-transparent as to keep sensible, especially ‘pro-poor’, Master Plan provisions a closely guarded secret, public faith in the Plan will be undermined and planned development will become impossible.

In view of all the above, we solicit your urgent intervention in addressing the matter of hawkers in Vasant Kunj in particular and all over Delhi in general with adequate reference to Master Plan provisions.

We are sending a copy of this letter to all those to whom letters have been sent by or on behalf of Vasant Kunj Rehri Patri Vyapari Ekta Manch in the hope that at least now, after we are driven to appeal to you in desperation, we will see some evidence of responsiveness and accountability in governance.

Yours sincerely

sd/ for Samudayik Vikas Samiti, Rangpuri Pahari M Kohi

sd/ for Vasant Kunj Rehri Patri Vyapari Ekta Manch

sd/ for MPISG, B-2 Vasant Kunj

sd/ for RWA, B-4 Vasant Kunj

sd/ for MPISG, B-7 Vasant Kunj

sd/ for RWA, B-9 Extn Vasant Kunj

sd/ for MPISG, C-6 Vasant Kunj

sd/ for RWA, C-9 Vasant Kunj

sd/ for MPISG, D-7 Vasant Kunj

To support planned development. To oppose unplanned development. To protect our future.