RESIDENTS PASSING through Race Course road today witnessed a strange spectacle. Hundreds of squashed oranges, pulpy papayas and cracked coconuts littered the busy thoroughfare, interspersed with plywood planks and remnants of ancient handcarts being carefully gathered by resigned fruit vendors.
The chaotic scene resulted following an Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) crackdown on fruit vendors, who line the Lantern Square crossing.
A team headed by IMC Removal officer Dr Rajesh Kothari landed at the site and, without warning, started bulldozing the 15-odd carts, fruits and all. Before the vendors could even realise what was happening, let alone protest, their carts were crushed by the bulldozer and the wares spilled all over the street.
The Removal department also razed illegal constructions measuring 325 square feet of one Abdul Rashid at Dhar Kothi and an illegal boundary wall at a petrol pump in Residency Area.
Earlier, several passersby protested the move demanding that the Corporation at least allow the fruit vendors carry away
their wares, but to no avail.
When a commuter queried “Kyon gareebon ka nuqsaan kar rahe hain. Phal to hata lene deejiye”. (Why hurt their pockets. At least let them carry away the fruits), a Removal Department staffer responded “Nuqsaan thodi hai. Yeh phal to Praani Sangrahalaya bhejenge (There’ll be no loss. We’ll send the fruits to the zoo).
Needless to say the exercise ended only after the last handcart was bulldozed. “We had been warning them for months not to clutter up this road, but they paid no heed and we were eventually forced to take action today”, declared Dr Kothari when queried about the anti-encroachment drive.