Miffed with the inconvenience caused due to the presence of barricades around the Taj Mahal Palace, nearly 100 residents, shopkeepers and some taxi drivers from Colaba area protested at Azad Maidan on Tuesday.
A signature campaign too was held in support of the cause.
The protestors alleged that as private vehicles and taxis are not allowed around the hotel precinct, they have to be parked at a distance or a long route has to be opted for.
“The barricades were placed for US President Barack Obama’s visit in November. Earlier, we were told that it would be lifted in 10-15 days. But, it still continues to remain there, thus affecting our business,” said Asif Tanki, owner of Mahad Joo & Sons, a shop in the area since the last 45 years.
A spokesperson from Taj said: “The Taj is cooperating with the authorities. While we have hotel representatives to identify hotel cars and allow them access, these cars are parked at designated parking areas only. We regret the inconvenience caused to shop owners in the area. But, this is for the safety and security of all."
Residents too are crying inconvenience.
“We want security but not at the cost of convenience,” said resident Asif Khan.
“Patients too are forced to get down 500 meters away from the hospital. Recently, two children lost their lives on their way to our hospital,” said Wilson Lawrence, manager of Kalajyot Hospital near the hotel.
Taxi drivers claim they are incurring losses, as they are not allowed to park their taxis at the 40-year-old taxi stand. “We are not allowed to park in the area. Only the cars hired by the hotel on contract basis are permitted in,” said taxi driver Bhaskar Khare, who has been driving in the area since 25 years.
Partial barricades of the area were removed on Tuesday. “Nearly 70% barricades were removed on Tuesday, but we want 100% to be removed,” Vinod Shekhar, corporator from Colaba, said.