Is this sky­walk or hawk­ers’ zone?

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­[email protected]­dus­tan­

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.

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