BMC chief sets 1-year deadline to free up all footpaths in city

  • Sanjana Bhalerao, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 04, 2015 00:45 IST

MUMBAI: In one year, you may be able to walk on footpaths that are free of hawkers and shops.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta on Saturday told the administration that it has one year to clear footpaths of shops, hotels and hawkers. The move comes just days after Mehta asked the 24 administrative wards to make a list of encroachments.

While launching the drive, Mehta said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) focus is on ensuring the footpaths stay free and encroachments do not return. For this, sources said he has asked ward offices to make a three-month rotating plan.

“We have been asked to prepare a three-month rotating plan to ensure a sustained drive. Our orders are clear: if establishments create extensions, they will immediately be removed. We also have to collect photographic evidence. According to the plan, we have to set a target for each month and submit a report to the commissioner,” said a senior civic official, not wishing to be named.

Mehta said the aim was to make the city pedestrian-friendly. “The drive is a long-term exercise. It will take a couple of years to achieve that goal,” Mehta said.

The plan made by each of the 24 administrative wards will classify encroachments into movable, permanent and protected structures.

In cases where structures are permanent or protected, notices will be served before demolition. Some cases may even get a hearing.

Citizen groups have welcomed the focus on the sustained drive against encroachments. “We hope this drive against hawkers and commercial establishments is sustained and pedestrians get to walk freely on the footpath, which is usually occupied by vendors and encroachments,” said Nayana Kathpalia, trustee of NAGAR, an NGO working to reclaim the city’s open spaces.

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