Colaba locals to march against encroachments

  • Swati Goel Sharma, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2015 22:58 IST

Residents of Colaba, shocked by the recent death of a woman who was allegedly run over by a tempo while jogging on Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, will carry out a march on Sunday against encroachments and illegal parking of commercial vehicles and trucks in the area.

A few thousand residents of Colaba are expected to join the march, which will start at 11am from the entrance of Sassoon Dock Gatehouse, and end at BPT (Bombay Port Trust) garden.

According to residents, the stretch from Sassoon Dock gate to Colaba post office is always congested, with tempos and other vehicles illegally parked there, leaving little room for moving vehicles and pedestrians.

Cynthia D’mello, member of My Dream Colaba, a non-governmental organisation, said the accident took place around 6.30am on April 19.

She said the woman was habituated to jogging on the road because of the encroachments. “We have had two deaths in quick succession. A 78-year-old woman died after she fell on a pavement dug up by telecom service providers, which had not been repaired for weeks. This was purely because of the negligence of the municipal body,” she said.

“For years, we have been bringing the problem to the notice of the police and the civic body. Tomorrow, any of us could be the next victim. We are all pedestrians at some time or the other,” said Renu Kapoor, member of Colaba Advanced Locality Management (CALM), which is co-organising the march.

On Friday, residents started a signature campaign on a letter addressed to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the BMC and the commissioner of police. The letters highlights issues such as illegal garage operators occupying the footpaths on the stretch, vendors encroachments upon the land, illegal parking of commercial vehicles and trucks, even though the zone is a ‘no parking’ one.

“Rampant disdain is shown to one-ways and no-entry signs, so being a pedestrian or even a car-owner is completely unsafe here,” the latter said.

“After collecting around 2,000 signatures, we will send the letter to the authorities,” said D’mello.

Encroachments claiming lives?
The 38-year-old woman was reportedly crushed under a tempo carrying milk and dairy products near the Sassoon Dock gate at around 6.30am last Sunday. She was jogging

In addition to complaining about encroachments and illegal parking in their area, residents, in their letter to the CM, have complained that every year, when the Sassoon Dock is shut during the two months of monsoon, fishermen encroach upon the residential area just outside the dock, to sell fish

A resident who lives a few metres away from the dock, said, “Every monsoon, the market returns at the spot. There is hardly any space to walk, and the stench is unbearable. The situation has been the same for the last couple of years.”

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