As we sit in our AC homes/offices/cars and crib about increasing prices and other grave macro issues, I was picking up medicines, when I saw a couple of new hawkers near the medical shop, which normally used to be clean.
The need to pickup some lime and cucumber drove me to check them out. There were a few people around, but the hawkers were missing. On looking around they were all gathered behind the rickshaw.
Soon, one of them came back with a big smile on his face. Talking to him, I gathered that they had started business a week back and the police had been collecting some money. But they (police – beat Marshalls) were here to negotiate. The official rate with ‘Pavti’ was Rs. 1250/- but they would charge 150/- per day per hawker.
My immediate reaction was:
1) This means 150 x 5 = 750 x 30 = 22,500/- AND from just one small corner.
2) Why would the hawkers be happy? Their answer – Sab official hai, light bhi laga sakte hai –
which translates into an electricity bill & Ration card later? (Maybe I was jumping the gun)
3) Are they authorised to penalize or is BMC? The hawker’s answered – BMC comes once a
week or when there is a raid.
4) What would happen if I complaint about the menace? The hawkers and couple of people
buying there were unhappy and asked me why do you want to complain and create a
problem? This is so convenient….
I took a couple of pictures that were hazy and promptly the beat marshall came up to ask, why was I taking pictures, who was I?