This year, there will be no unauthorised hawkers around Mount Mary during the Bandra fair.
The Bombay High Court directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday to ensure that the fair is not extended beyond its notified period of eight days and there are no unauthorised hawkers.
“We do understand authorised hawkers, but unauthorised hawkers must go,” said the division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R.V. More while hearing a public interest litigation filed by more than 250 residents of Bandra.
The fair will begin on September 12.
“It’s a very positive development. However, the implementation of the directive needs to be monitored, otherwise the BMC might make a mess of it,” said Archana Sharma, president of Bandra Bandstand ALM, which had protested illegal hawkers during the fair.
The judges expressed displeasure after the petitioners’ counsel, Pooja Thorat, pointed out from an affidavit filed on behalf of the municipal corporation that more than 1,500 illegal hawkers occupy the eight roads in Mount Mary area during the fair.
Thorat said although civic body had granted licences to 165 stalls on four roads in the area, it had admitted that hawkers set up shop 12 roads.
Highlighting the plight of the residents, Thorat said that for 10 days five BEST bus routes remain closed because of the hawkers’ menace. “Forget about taxis and autos, even private cars can’t ply on the roads in the area during the fair,” Thorat said.
The counsel for the corporation, K.K. Singhavi, assured the court that action will be taken and the civic body will try to ensure that there are no unauthorised hawkers during the Bandra fair.
Residents have also challenged the civic body’s move to grant licences to 165 hawkers on four roads during the fair contending that the entire area surrounding Mount Mary Church was a no-hawking zone and no commercial activity can be allowed there.
The petitioners have also requested the court to direct the traffic police to ensure proper flow of traffic during the fair. The residents said the already narrow lanes in Bandra become inaccessible for ambulances, fire brigade vehicles and school buses during the fair.