Taking cognizance of the new article published by The Free Press Journal ( MBMC Plays Blind to Illegal Use of Gas Cylinders by Hawkers) highlighting the massive misuse of domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders by hawkers which posed a serious threat to the lives of pedestrians as well as people who patronize these roadside eateries in the twin-city, it is the police department which has taken the lead and launched a crackdown against the gas bombs.
As many as 42 hawkers have been taken to task and an equal number of gas cylinders have been impounded by the various units attached to the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police in less than a fortnight. Cases under 285 of the IPC for negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter have been registered at six police stations.
While the Navghar police station topped with 17 cases, their Bhayandar and Naya Nagar counterparts booked nine people each. However, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) continue to remain mute spectators to the illegal cooking activities. This despite judicial orders that directed the civic bodies to take action against illegal roadside eateries that cooked in the open by brazenly using gas cylinders, thus compromising with the safety of citizens. While hundreds of handcarts and food vans cooking and selling food items are seen stationed at key locations across the twin-city, there have been instances across the state where innocent people have become victims of LPG gas cylinder explosions.
The recent mishap involving the cooking apparatus at a roadside food stall in the Ramdev Park area of Mira Road has once again put the spotlight on the massive misuse of gas cylinders. Although the action by the police has sent shockwaves amongst illegal roadside eateries, the influential gas dealers and their agents who are the main beneficiaries of the trade are allowed to go scot free raising a serious question mark on the pick and choose policy and biased approach adopted by the law enforcing agencies.