Home minister RR Patil, on Friday, directed the police to undertake a joint drive with civic authorities to evict hawkers from railway foot overbridges (FOBs).
Speaking to reporters, Patil said the hawkers were not only a security threat, but also a nuisance for women commuters. He said he had taken serious note of the presence of hawkers on the Dadar FOB, even after they were evicted six months ago.
Patil spoke to BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte and joint commissioner (law and order) Sadanand Date and asked them to undertake a joint drive to remove hawkers from railway bridges and subways.
Patil had visited the Dadar FOB in April this year. He said he had received complaints from female commuters about the difficulties they faced while using the bridge. According to home department officials, the lenient approach by the police and civic authorities was a result of pressure from local politicians to allow hawkers to function.
Patil decided to act after recent commuters’ complaints that the hawkers had returned in large numbers. He spoke to Kunte and assured him of police protection.
Patil also said he had asked the civic commissioner to see if skywalks could be allowed by hawkers to do business. "”f skywalks are not used by commuters, why not utilise them for sky shopping? It will help us to clear roads and footpaths outside the railway station,” he said.