The festival of lights has become a cause of concern for the residents and shopkeepers near Andheri (West).
They are expressing serious apprehensions over the mandaps that have come up outside the station, all of which sell firecrackers, despite strict guidelines by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which state that there can be no firecracker stalls on the road.
A local shopkeeper, not wishing to be named, said, “It creates a very dangerous situation for us, since there are thousands of people using the station every day.”
“Even minor sparks, erupting from an accidental fire, could wreak havoc in the whole area and lead to mass casualties, since it is such a busy area,” he added.
Another shopkeeper, requesting anonymity, said that he feared for the worst.
“Since these stalls are lined up on the station junction, I fear that even a minor accident could be fatal. If the BMC doesn’t take any action, it could be a black Diwali for all of us.”
Aftab Siddiqui, a member of Citispace, which has been fighting for organised hawking said, “These hawkers are not only flouting the Supreme Court guidelines, but they are also selling firecrackers which is a matter of safety and security of commuters in that area.”
The BMC’s licence superintendent, Dinkar Kharat said there were no provisions for the same. “The municipal corporation rules are strictly against hawking of firecrackers on roads. We do not issue any such permissions and take action against such offenders on a daily basis.”
Acknowledging the concerns of the residents and shopkeepers, RW Pawar, assistant municipal commissioner, K West ward said, “It is very dangerous to have firecracker stalls on such busy junctions. I have not issued any permission for such stalls to be setup. We shall take immediate action.”