Despite the government’s promises to keep illegal hawkers off city roads, the encroachers are re-appearing. A week after the anti- hawking drive started in the city, hawkers have returned to their spots, and are keenly trying to make up for their losses.
The area outside the western end of Dadar west station is choc-a-bloc once again, even though the largest numbers of illegal vendors were evicted from there by the civic body’s encroachment removal department.
One of the hawkers said, “Such drives keep happening to prove a point to the public. After a day or two, everything gets back to normal, it’s no big deal.”
Around a hundred hawkers took over the Dadar area, including the open foot over bridge, on Monday, Residents and commuters complained that it was tedious to walk once again.
“As the drive has been happening all over the city, I thought the authorities are finally serious about tackling the issue. We lived in peace for 2-3 days, but now everything is terrible again,” said Sneha Patil, a Dadar resident.
Until last week, the municipal corporation’s patrolling vans had been stationed there to make sure the roads stayed clear. However, the hawkers were quick to take advantage of their absence on Monday.
At Andheri, Santacruz, Vile Parle and Chembur too, hawkers are starting to resurface, but with one eye on road, ready to pack up if a police van arrives.
“We demand the implementation of the hawking policy, until which there can be no expectation of hawker-free roads. Municipal markets are lying vacant and are in terrible condition. The least that the government can do is renovate and send them there,” said Rajkumar Sharma, an activist from Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI).