Over 16,000 illegal structures of hawkers removed

Mumbai : In a massive drive against hawkers from Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation removed about 15,000 illegal structures (of hawkers) and 1,500 food stalls from the footpaths in June alone from all the 24 wards of the city. The civic body also completely cleared the encroachments around railway stations of CST, Churchgate, Dadar, Kurla, Bandra, Ghatkopar, Borivali, Andheri, Kanjur Marg and Churni Road.

Total 1,404 hawkers were evicted from Dadar area, followed by 1,176 from areas around CST, Churchgate and Colaba. The maximum eateries were cleared from Lower Parel (96), followed by 83 from A ward, area corresponding to CST, Churchgate and Marine Drive. About 76 eateries were cleared from Bandra and 74 from Andheri and Kurla each.

BMC spokesperson told FPJ that this was part of an initiative by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to rid Mumbai of hawkers who are occupying its streets illegally.

“We have allowed licensed hawkers to continue doing their business but footpaths are essentially meant for pedestrians, especially during the rains when it gets very difficult to walk on the street.”

Condemning the civic body’s drive, Shashank Rao, president of Mumbai Hawkers’ Union, said, “There are only 15,000 registered hawkers in Mumbai, and this registration was last done 30 years ago. There are currently over 3 lakh hawkers in the city and the chaotic situation that has arisen today is not because of the hawkers but because of lack of planning and political will on behalf of the BMC.”

Rao also said that the BMC targets hawkers to appease the lobby of businessmen and shopkeepers that does not want hawkers to survive in the city. He said that there are other types of encroachments on footpaths in the city like parked cars and bigger shops owners extending their stalls but the municipal corporation has not done anything about it.

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