Bandra Bandstand, Hill Road and the beachfront from Santacruz to Juhu might look very different soon: you will no longer see hawkers here if the police’s plan to permanently clean out these areas materialises.
After several complaints from residents, police officials in the western region in collaboration with the civic body have begun a sustained drive to evict unlicensed hawkers.
The drive goes beyond the usual temporary evictions, after which hawkers put up their stalls almost immediately.
“Often, we see that the hawkers put up stalls soon after the eviction vans leave. In order to deal with this, we are planning to deploy our delta (reserve) forces comprising eight police constables and an assistant sub inspector who will constantly patrol the areas once hawkers have been evicted,” said Pratap Dighavkar, deputy commissioner of police for zone 9 that extends from Bandra (west) to Oshiwara.
Dighavkar said that the police are working with the BMC as it has the infrastructure, logistics and vehicles required for evictions.
The police and the BMC, on Tuesday, cleared 200 hawkers from Hill Road. On Wednesday, the drive was extended to Juhu Chowpatty, the beachfront at Santacruz, Bandra Bandstand and the area outside the Andheri (West) railway station.
“There have been several complaints by locals about the hawker menace. So, we have decided to find a permanent solution to the problem,” added Dighavkar.
But residents are not so sure about the ‘permanent solution’ promise. “We have seen several eviction drives, but not one has led to a permanent solution.
The initiative is appreciable, but we only hope that it provides permanent relief. Hawkers, especially at narrow roads such as Hill Road, only add to the congestion,” said Meet Rajdeo, a 25-year-old media professional residing in Juhu.