Even as footpaths in the city shrink due to road widening and hawkers claiming the rest, residents of Bandra have decided to fight for the pavements on Manuel Gonsalves road at Pali hill, which they claim is facing the threat of encroachment from roadside stalls.
The road, which is being concretised by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has three stalls at one its corners. Though the pavement is not encroached yet, residents fear that once the work is complete, the stalls would eventually be moved on to the footpath.
“We do not want the stalls to be shifted to the footpath. There are three schools in the vicinity and the footpath cannot be blocked by the stalls,” said Ronald Dcunha, secretary of June Blossoms housing society, the boundary wall of which would have stalls leaning against it if they are moved on the pavement. A civic official said: “Though we understand citizens’ grievances, the stalls have valid licences and we cannot evict them. Once the road is widened and regular traffic flow resumes, they would have to be moved on to the pavement.”
However, Vijay Balamwar, deputy municipal commissioner (removal of encroachments), said: “BMC does not give licence permissions to stalls to conduct their businesses on footpaths.”
Residents also said that the stalls were violating licence conditions by expanding the area of the stalls and changing the commodities on sale from those for which the licences were granted.
Dcunha, who procured copies of licenses issued to the stall owners through an RTI appeal filed with the local ward office two years ago, said: “The licence for one of the stalls was given to run a cobbler shop, but now a bag manufacturing and repair business is being run there. We have been complaining to the ward officials to revoke the licences, but no action has been taken.”