Hawk­ers re­moved from Vashi

Roads cleared af­ter years; evicted hawk­ers up­set, say new mar­ket lacks ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

In one of the big­gest drive by the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion, the hawk­ers’ mar­ket at Sec­tor 9 in Vashi was re­moved on Wed­nes­day.

Around 200 hawk­ers have been asked to shift to an­other area in sec­tor 9A, near a com­mu­nity cen­tre. The hawk­ers have op­posed the ac­tion.

The ac­tion comes within a cou­ple of weeks of the foot­paths of sec­tor 9 area of Vashi be­ing cleared of hawk­ers. The move freed up space on roads, eas­ing con­ges­tion and mak­ing walk­ing smoother. The le­gal hawk­ers in a lane had been asked to cut down on the area they oc­cu­pied.

The lat­est ac­tion how­ever, has com­pletely rid the area of all types of hawk­ers and opened the road for easy move­ment of traf­fic.

The Navi Mumbai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (NMMC) of­fi­cials led by ward of­fi­cer Ma­hen­dra Singh Thoke and ac­com­pa­nied by a large posse of po­lice­men led by se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of Vashi, Ajay Landge car­ried out the drive.

They in­formed the hawk­ers that they would de­mol­ish their struc­tures if they them­selves did not do it.

The hawk­ers protested but re­al­is­ing that the au­thor­i­ties meant busi­ness, them­selves took away their stock and re­moved the bam­boo struc­tures.

“The hawk­ers had been oc­cu­py­ing the roads for years. They had been ob­struct­ing traf­fic here,” said Thoke.

He added, “We re­cently gave them an al­ter­na­tive place at Sec­tor 9 through draw of lots. They had re­fused to shift de­spite re­peated re­quests.”

The hawk­ers were up­set as the drive af­fected sev­eral se­nior cit­i­zens and women.

An oc­to­ge­nar­ian woman hawker said: “We have li­cences for al­most 30 years now. How can they treat us like this? Could they not have shifted us af­ter the mon­soon?”

Hawk­ers said that the area they have been asked to shift to lacks ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties.

“The new mar­ket does not have toilets, light and wa­ter fa­cil­ity. How will we man­age away from this prime area? We Stalls be­ing re­moved from Vashi mar­ket. The roads had been en­croached by hawk­ers, leav­ing lit­tle space for ve­hi­cles.

will also lose cus­tomers,” said Sindhu Doipure, a hawker.

They also said that the huge stocks which were stored there will rot.

Bhim­rao Borkar, a leader of hawk­ers, said: “This is grave in­jus­tice. The NMMC had given us this place and we have been here for years. We have suf­fered huge loss of our stock to­day as it is all per­ish­able.”

He said that their sug­ges­tions on the new mar­ket were not taken. “This has been done as per the whims of the civic body. When you plan for a smart city, give us a smart mar­ket as well. The new lo­ca­tion is not go­ing to be enough to ac­com­mo­date us. There are no proper fa­cil­i­ties ei­ther.”

Res­i­dents, who shop there ev­ery day, will now have to travel longer dis­tance to shop.

Ja­gat De­sai, who had come from Kopar Khairane, said: “This mar­ket was con­ve­nient for us.”

Oth­ers said the ac­tion was long over­due. Dar­shan Patil, a lo­cal res­i­dent, said: “Our area looks dif­fer­ent and we will not have prob­lems while driv­ing. The prop­erty rates will also im­prove. The mar­ket was an eye sore and a prob­lem as it was crowded most of the time.”

The NMMC has been tak­ing ac­tion against il­le­gal en­croach­ments and er­rant eater­ies.

Ten days ago, the NMMC shut the food court at Raghuleela mall in Vashi for not pos­sess­ing re­quired li­cences. Four other restau­rants and fast food cen­tres in the vicin­ity too were sealed. Ma­ha­rash­tra Hawk­ers Fed­er­a­tion, Feri­wala Ekta Unions, Zh­poad­pati Ba­choo Samiti protest out­side NMMC HQ at CBD Be­la­pur against civic chief Tukaram Mundhe on Wed­nes­day. The 22x120 feet road at New Pan­vel is used for hap­haz­ard park­ing by res­i­dents.

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

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