Coronavirus in Mira-Bhayandar: To enforce lockdown, MBMC starts crushing hawker carts

Bhayandar: To enforce the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has launched a new strategy to deal with hawkers during eviction drives in the twin-city. Instead of keeping them in warehouses, the stalls and handcarts are now crushed beyond any use with the help of JCB machines. The destructive action against roadside fruit and vegetable sellers was initiated in the Naya Nagar area of Mira Road on Friday. This at a time, when the hawkers have already suffered huge losses and are fighting for survival amid the pandemic.

“We are left penniless and were managing our daily bread by selling fruits and vegetables for a few hours. They could have confiscated our carts and released them later. What was the need to crush them, how are we supposed to feed our families?” questioned a hawker.

Moreover, the pick and choose policy adopted by the ward officials and private bouncers by the private manpower supply agency is also under the scanner. It has been alleged that the MBMC was targeting only the poor hawkers, while several shopkeepers were conducting business in a clandestine manner.

“Repeated appeals had gone to deaf ears, leaving us with no other option,” said an official while justifying the action. The district administration had relaxed restrictions and allowed business activities a few weeks ago. However, due to an alarming rise in the number of positive cases, coupled by a gradual surge in the death toll, the MBMC has re-imposed a total lockdown from July 1 to midnight of July 10.

TMC seizes 127 handcarts

In a clean-up drive, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has on Friday seized 127 handcarts used illegally by hawkers on the city streets.

Most of the carts were used for selling Chinese food, vegetables, fruits and readymade garments, said the civic officials.

These carts will now be crushed using JCB machines, said sources in the TMC. The action was initiated by order of Thane commissioner Vipin Sharma.

Sandeep Malvi, TMC PRO, said, "The seized carts will be taken to a common site. The confiscated material will be crushed using JCBs."

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