NMMC fails to tackle hawker men­ace

It has spent Rs2.44 cr on anti- en­croach­ment drives in past five years

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ■ ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

VASHI: Even as the city gears up for the smart city race, hawk­ers have taken over foot­paths and streets in al­most all nodes de­spite Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion’s ( NMMC) crack­downs.

The NMMC has spent around Rs2.44crore — Rs39.96 lakh in Vashi alone — on anti-en­croach­ment drives in the city in the past five years.

How­ever, res­i­dents dis­tressed by the hawker men­ace, par­tic­u­larly in Sec­tors 9 and 15 of Vashi, have said the NMMC’s anti- en­croach­ment drives are only an eye­wash as the hawk­ers re­turn to their busi­ness soon af­ter the drive is over.

Hawk­ers op­er­at­ing on roads and foot­paths leave lit­tle room for pedes­tri­ans and lead to traf­fic snarls.

Ma­hesh Kharat, a res­i­dent of Sec­tor 9, Vashi, said, “On see­ing the NMMC anti-en­croach­ment ve­hi­cle ap­proach­ing, the hawk­ers flee with their items to the com­pounds and build­ings nearby.”

“Un­til a few years ago, Sec­tors 9 and 15 had veg­etable and cloth mar­kets. Later, the veg­etable mar­ket came up in Sec­tors 9 and 10; the cloth mar­ket re­mained in Sec­tor 15,” said Pradeep Sawant, an­other res­i­dent.

“Now, the road next to the cloth mar­ket too has been taken over by hawk­ers sell­ing veg­eta­bles. From the end of the cloth mar­ket, the hawk­ers have taken up both sides of the road upto Dinkar Patil Chowk. With lit­tle ac­tion be­ing taken by NMMC, the num­ber of th­ese hawk­ers has been on the rise,” said Sawant.

He added, “The NMMC’s ac­tions have lim­ited im­pact.”

“The mo­ment the NMMC ve­hi­cles leave, the hawk­ers are back to busi­ness and by the end of the day, when the mar­ket shuts, the area is full of garbage,” said Kharat.

The res­i­dents and mo­torists are in­con­ve­nienced by the mess. Mo­torists find it dif­fi­cult to travel on the road lead­ing to Kopar Khairane.

Pedes­tri­ans too have lit­tle space to walk as lo­cal shops have en­croached upon the mar­ginal space out­side their premises to put up dis­play items such as man­nequins.

Vashi­ward of­fi­cer Ma­hen­dras­ingh Thoke said, “We re­alise the hawk­ers recog­nise our ve­hi­cles and flee with their wares only to re­turn in a short while.”

“We have now de­cided to start a pa­trolling sys­tem to keep a reg­u­lar watch. Once the plan is fi­nalised, we will im­ple­mented it,” said Thoke.

Hawker prob­lem is not new in the city. Foot over­bridges, sky­walk and foot­paths have been taken over by hawk­ers, making the pub­lic spa­ces con­gested. Fed up of the men­ace, res­i­dents have blamed civic of­fi­cials for look­ing the other way in­stead of taken ac­tion.

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

Hawk­ers sell clothes on the foot­path in Sec­tor 9, Vashi, leav­ing lit­tle space for pedes­tri­ans.

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

Hawk­ers, il­le­gally en­croach­ing on the foot­path, sell a host of items at Sec­tor 15, Vashi.

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