BMC: Where are the old woman?s fruits? | india | Hindustan Times
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BMC: Where are the old woman?s fruits?

IT HAPPENED several times before and it happened again on October 18 between 11 and 12 in the forenoon in the inner New Market. I was, accidentally, there. All of a sudden there appeared the anti-encroachment squad of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation fully backed by the police force. The inner New market, from where Manish Singh, the undaunted BMC Commissioner, had the guts to remove all encroachments of big shopkeepers, was the scene of action.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2006 16:56 IST

IT HAPPENED several times before and it happened again on October 18 between 11 and 12 in the forenoon in the inner New Market. I was, accidentally, there. All of a sudden there appeared the anti-encroachment squad of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation fully backed by the police force. The inner New market, from where Manish Singh, the undaunted BMC Commissioner, had the guts to remove all encroachments of big shopkeepers, was the scene of action.

But, I found that whereas they were hard upon the women who squat on the ground with their small baskets selling seasonal fruits, they were very easy upon the other shopkeepers. I saw a BMC official wearing a red cap leading the squad catch hold of an old woman’s hand most ruthlessly: She was pleading to let her and her fruits go. But the officer did not relent and all her fruits were confiscated.

I was watching all this and not suffering the partiality approached the officer and asked him to show the same courage with the big shopkeepers who had encroached upon the pavement so extensively.

Thus cornered he ordered his staff to take care of the other shopkeepers also who had displayed their goods and merchandise on the pavements — cushions, artificial flowers, dairy products, packed sweets, bags and suitcases and numerous other items.

This looked very well, but the body language was clear — they were persuading the big shopkeepers and did not confiscate any goods, whereas the old woman was physically handled and her fruits seized.

Could the BMC anti-encroachment staff tell me that if the big shopkeepers’ goods were not seized, why the fruits of Krisna Bai, for it was the old woman’s name, were seized and taken away? Was it not because she did not have a shop where she could immediately hide her fruits? She claims the fruits were worth Rs 800. Why such discrimination? The BMC should make good the loss she has suffered and pay her the money. Should I tell the anti-encroachment staff that the moment they left the scene the goods and other merchandise were in place as before, including Krisna Bai’s small basket of fruits — this time containing only some custard apples; after all life has to go on.

All of us know that our government and social institutions are corrupt, including the BMC, but I do not give credence to the widely accepted belief that the shopkeepers all over the City and not just those of the New Market pay regular money for the illegal use of pavements. But I fail to understand how the shopkeepers fearlessly put once again their goods even when the BMC staff is at the other end of the pavement? Why encroachments are constantly there even when the BMC staff carries out regular anti-encroachment drives? Why encroachers are not penalised? Would some one in the BMC explain this phenomenon?

Putting every thing aside, I would like to know where have the fruits of Krisna Bai gone? In the name of social justice she deserves her fruits or money back. She is also a defaulter, but why should the BMC adopt different standards of confiscation?