Is this skywalk or hawkers’ zone?
Hawkers encroaching upon roads, footpaths and the skywalk in Turbhe have become a nuisance for pedestrians. While hawkers on the roads cause traffic congestion, encroachments on the skywalk have left little space for commuters to walk on.
Turbhe Naka is the worst affected with over 100 hawkers occupying footpaths and roads.
“Vendors sell vegetables, fruits, cloth and utensils among others on the roadside,” said Nizam Shaikh, a social worker.
“No action has been taken against illegal hawkers. There are allegations that the business is carried on with tacit support of some officials,” said Shaikh.
“The Turbhe-Mahape Road sees a stream of heavy vehicles heading to and fro the industrial area. While the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has constructed a concrete road, only one lane is available for traffic,” said Mahesh Dhotre, a resident.
“The skywalk constructed by the NMMC to prevent accidents too has been taken over by the hawkers,” said Dhotre.
“Many robberies have taken place on the skywalk and despite Hawkers sell goods on the Turbhe skywalk, leaving little space for commuters to walk.
repeated complaints, the police have not taken action,” said Jaya Parade, a commuter.
Tanuja Katre, a commuter, said, “I prefer not to take the skywalk after 5.30 pm as it turns into a mini market. After 7pm, it is not safe as ruffians pass lewd comments.”
Hawkers claimed they are backed by some “civic officials”.
“We pay Rs500 to an NMMC officer (name withheld) every month to allow us to sell goods on the flyover,” said a hawker on condition of anonymity.
“When the anti-encroachment squad conducts eviction drive
on the skywalk, we have to pay Rs3,000 to Rs4,000 to the officials to take our goods back,” he said.
Turbhe ward officer Bharat Dhande clarified that the person named by vendors worked for a contractor and was not an NMMC employee.
“The person named by the vendors is not our employee. He works for one of the contractors. We will look into the issue and take immediate action,” said Dhande.
“We have been conducted regular eviction drives, but the hawkers keep coming back,” he said.