Mumbai: Proposed underground hawking zone in Andheri gets nod

Mumbai: In a bid to resolve one of the city’s major issues of illegal hawking, the hawkers union of Andheri has proposed a plan to bring in an underground hawking zone beneath the Ganpatrao Ambre Maharaj Udyan in Andheri west. The plan also includes that the underground market will have parking space for vehicles.

The proposal was tabled before Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Monday who has given a green signal to the plan. Mehta has asked the union to initiate the work on the entire design of the market.

Mohsin Haider, Congress corporator of Andheri who arranged a meeting with Mehta, said, “Navrang Garden at the Dadabhai Road can be reconstructed into a hawking zone and a parking zone under it. Mehta has given a positive response to the proposal and we will work out the entire design in few months. The hawking plaza can accommodate around 1100 hawkers, whereas, Andheri has 1,200 hawkers in all. The plan will give a relief to the hawkers that are always harassed by police officials and civic officials, and will ease congestion on the Dadabhai Road.”

Inspired by Delhi’s Pallika Bazaar, an underground market at Connaught Place, Andheri’s Hawker Association had previously advised four places in the K west ward for constructing an underground hawking zone. Interestingly, majority of the hawkers selected Ambre Garden and even agreed to sponsor the cost of the construction.

Haider told FPJ that the entire hawkers of Andheri Railway Station, S V Road, Gazdaar Road, M A Road, Masjid Galli, V P Road and J P Road can be accommodated at this Hawker plaza.

A senior civic official of the K west ward (Andheri, Jogeshwari, and Vile Parle) said these areas have the maximum number of hawkers because of which these roads witness traffic congestion on a daily basis.

Surprisingly, Haider alleged that the hawkers that are a part of the underground market plan were tricked by the civic body in 2006. Haider said, “A request to rehabilitate hawkers below Gokhale Flyover Bridge was accepted by the K west ward officials in 2006.  The hawker unions accordingly spent Rs 60 lakh for the construction of the hawker zone below the flyover and an additional Rs 5 lakh were paid towards security deposit. Till date, the hawkers have neither received permission for hawking nor have they received the deposits from the civic body. Sadly, the place below the flyover is now the traffic police station.”

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