Hawkers removed from Vashi
Roads cleared after years; evicted hawkers upset, say new market lacks basic facilities
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.