Reeling under an acute economic crisis due to the extended rounds of lockdown that had followed the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in Mira Bhayandar are facing a new crisis in the form of security officials. 

Even as the local business community tries to limp back to normalcy, it is now being subjected to ill-treatment and abuse by private security guards and bouncers hired by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC). Irate over the arm twisting tactics being used by the private bouncers, traders registered their protest by squatting at the entrance of the MBMC headquarters in Bhayandar on Tuesday. Local youth Congress workers led by Deep Kakde had extended their support to the peaceful agitation. 

The MBMC has allowed the reopening of commercial establishments in the twin-city by implementing the odd-even formula under which shops can open on each side of the pavement on alternate days. “Despite adhering to norms, the bouncers not only abuse us but also throw or take away our goods even as ward officers remain mute spectators,” alleged Shankar Vyas, a trader from Mira Road.  

The traders claim that since they are dependent upon each other for the procurement of goods, the odd-even concept cannot work smoothly when it comes to business operations. Moreover, they say that they are also facing logistics issues as the odd-even system does not suit transporters.

A delegation led by Kakde has met the additional civic chief seeking an end to the odd-even formula and action against the private security agency. 

Doling out lakhs of rupees every month, the MBMC has hired Sainik Security for its services, including provision of bouncers to accompany officials during demolition and eviction drives. However, from being caught taking bribes to attacking and abusing traders, the bouncers have repeatedly been in the news -- mostly for wrong reasons.

Legislator Geeta Jain has also sought action against the erring contractor for harassing the traders. The civic administration has assured that it will conduct a probe into the complaints and take action against those found guilty of any type of misconduct.

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Free Press Journal