Mumbai: Advocate To Go On Indefinite Hunger Strike Against Rampant Corruption And Illegality In Mumbai's R North And R Central Wards

Mumbai: Advocate To Go On Indefinite Hunger Strike Against Rampant Corruption And Illegality In Mumbai's R North And R Central Wards

The illegal food stalls using gas stoves are not only unhygienic but also pose significant dangers.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Sunday, June 23, 2024, 11:41 PM IST
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Left To Right, Advocate Karan Soni, Hawkers At R Central Ward | FPJ

Mumbai: Facing mounting issues related to hawkers in the R North and R Central wards, Advocate Karan Soni has been diligently following up on the municipality’s inaction. Despite numerous complaints, the ward office has failed to address the grievances. In response, Advocate Soni has announced an indefinite hunger strike, abstaining from both food and water, to protest against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) alleged corrupt practices, including the sheltering and protection of illegal hawkers and food stalls.

The hunger strike, aimed at exposing corruption within the BMC, is set to begin on June 26, 2024, and will initially take place at the DMC Zone - VII Office in R/South Ward, Kandivali West. From July 1, the protest will move to the BMC headquarters, where Soni vows to continue his strike until his demands are met or until his death.

Advocate Kapil Soni, a vocal critic of the BMC, stated, "The BMC takes action only where there is no monetary gain. Under pressure from senior officials, they perform superficial actions merely for show. Despite clear orders from the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court, the corporation fails to enforce these directives. Women and children suffer due to the hawkers, motorists face accidents, and parking spaces are occupied, causing severe traffic congestion.

The illegal food stalls using gas stoves are not only unhygienic but also pose significant dangers. Although the courts have mandated action, the hawkers reappear, raising questions about the BMC's compliance and accountability."

Soni further criticized the BMC for its purportedly fake demolition actions, claiming that during election duties, officers provided excuses for inaction. Despite official reports indicating actions against illegal hawkers in February and March, the hawkers remain. Soni remarked, "While BMC vehicles are stationed right in front of these hawkers, no action is taken. They claim to have acted even during election duties, but how is this possible? I demand concrete action, understanding that while hawkers need to earn a livelihood, they must also adhere to legal business practices."

Advocate Soni has highlighted several pressing issues, including the encroachment by hawkers and food stalls on footpaths and roads within 150 meters of railway stations at S.V. Road, Jambhli Gully, BMC Market Road, Chandavarkar Cross Road, and Borivali West. These encroachments cause significant trouble to pedestrians, women, children, and motorists, occupying parking spaces and causing traffic congestion, as noted on Public Grievance Day, September 4, 2023.

Additionally, he has pointed out the illegal use of gas cylinders and the preparation and sale of food in open spaces at Devraj Shopping Mall, Harishankar Joshi Road, Dahisar East. This unauthorized activity endangers public safety and involves running commercial operations in compulsory open spaces of buildings, also noted on Public Grievance Day, September 4, 2023.

Key Issues Highlighted by Advocate Karan Soni

BMC's (MCGM's) Corrupt Practices:

Shelter and protection of illegal activities, culprits, and delinquents.
Corruption in BMC (MCGM):

Rampant corruption hindering lawful action against illegalities.
Disobeying Court Orders:

MCGM officers disregarding and dishonoring the Apex and Bombay High Court's orders.
Allowing, sheltering, and protecting hawkers and food stalls (using gas cylinders and stoves) on footpaths and roads.

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