In a step towards making the city pedestrian-friendly, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday, took action against seven shops at the Churchgate subway. The civic body confiscated materials and sealed the shops.
According to officials, the civic body will be clearing the space to set up information kiosks. In May, BMC had served evacuation notices to 20 shops at Churchgate and 46 shops at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) subway.
A senior civic official from the markets department said, “We initiated action on the shops that have not approached the court.”
On Monday, a division bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) granted relief to 13 of the 20 shops at Churchgate and all the 46 shops which approached the court. The bench has also asked the BMC to file a reply by August 22 and not act on its notice until then.
Officials said the shops at Churchgate were under a license agreement for 10 years, that had ended. “Instead of giving them an extension, we have decided to relocate the licensed hawkers and evict the illegal ones congesting the area.”
The move to vacate hawkers is to make more space for commuters in these congested subways, officials said. The civic body, which garnered support from citizens on this move, initiated the action after CST was also included in the list of the 10 most iconic railway stations under the Prime Minister’s Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan.
The plan is to now spruce the space up by cleaning it regularly, improving ventilation, maintenance and security in the subways.
Mahendra Hemdev, a resident who uses the subway frequently, said the move will benefit many. “The hawkers have started obstructing even the staircases. They are also not selling anything that is essential. BMC’s move will benefit many.”