Mumbai: The Sakal Hindu Samaj – an umbrella organisation of several Hindu outfits – will kick-start a public campaign today against Vishwas Mote, the Assistant Commissioner of M-West ward (Chembur), for failing to demolish a large number of unauthorised structures in Chembur. BJP legislator Nitesh Rane will launch the campaign with a public meeting outside Chembur station in the evening.
Protest against hawkers
The Samaj is also protesting against the large number of hawkers who have occupied the footpath and road near Chembur station in gross violation of the 2017 judgement of the Bombay High Court (HC) which banned hawking within 150 metres of railway stations.
Samaj advocate Anoop Pal said, “Despite several complaints, no action has been taken against these illegal hawkers. Even the entrance to the station is blocked. People have no place to walk.” The Samaj has already taken up the matter with BJP leader Mangal Prabhat Lodha who is the guardian minister for the suburbs. Recently, an illegal burger stall was bulldozed, but the owner set up shop the very next day, defying the BMC's order to vacate.
List of illegal structures
The Samaj has compiled a list of illegal structures in the ward. These include an illegal masjid close to the station, burger stalls, massive encroachment of compulsory open space by a nearby jeweller, a three-storeyed masjid on the Megal City nullah at Postal Colony which causes floods every monsoon, a Mafco stall illegally converted into a fast food hotel at MDS Marg and encroachment of compulsory open spaces by several shops which impedes pedestrian movement.
In the recent past, a big fire broke out in the crowded Janata Market near the station. “Hundreds visit this cramped market which is highly vulnerable to fire. But even the fire has failed to make the authorities take action,” a local activist observed.
Meanwhile, the list of illegal structures was sent by FPJ to Mote but failed to elicit any response. Apart from this, the health department of the ward is also looking the other way as scores of panipuri and bhel sellers are a brisk business in the most unhygienic conditions. It is alleged that the hawkers are actually employees of a gang based out of nearby Govandi. Gang members threaten citizens who complain against hawkers.
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