The call for moving illegal hawkers out of the area around Mount Mary Church in Bandra during the Bandra fair is getting louder.
After some residents moved the Bombay High Court with this demand last week, the Bandra Bandstand Residents’ Trust (BBRT) and a few other Advanced Locality Management (ALM) units in Bandra, have written to the civic body asking for festivities to be shifted to the Reclamation ground, near Lilavati Hospital.
This will cause less chaos, they reason. The Bandra fair begins on September 12.
“We have no issues with the celebration,” said Robin Nath, secretary, BBRT. “But there is absolutely no infrastructure to support such an influx of people for those eight days. The whole area suffers because even the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) doesn’t bother making additional arrangements.”
The Bandra Bandstand ALM has also joined in. Its president, Archana Sharma, said: “This area has narrow lanes. Plus, we have spent considerable amount and energy to beautify and maintain the cleanliness of the area. The BMC should actively consider the option of shifting out the fair.”
Pearl Pai of the BJ Road ALM said robberies go up drastically during the fair. “Most illegal hawkers sleep on the streets here, making it an unsafe place,” she said.
Sharma said holding the fair on the Reclamation ground will be easier because the BMC can provide facilities such as mobile toilets and also regulate the number of stalls there. “They can also have designated parking spaces since the ground is big,” Sharma said.
The BMC is awaiting the court’s decision on the residents’ petition.
“We’ll be able to comment on the suggestion to shift it [the fair] only after the court gives its directives,” said Manik Kshirsagar, ward officer, H-West ward.
Pai said shifting the fair to the ground will ensure the hawkers’ business doesn’t suffer. Regulars at the fair, however, are not enthused by the idea. “The sanctity of this fair has to be maintained and shifting the festivities won’t be right,” said 52-year-old Bandra resident and activist Neil Pereira. “Locals should have patience. The fair lasts only eight days.”