Mahim locals start signature campaign asking BMC to clear footpaths

They have long been asking for removing slums on footpaths and thereby implementing the Bombay high court’s order that bans encroachments within a 150-metre radius around the station
By Steffy Thevar | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUN 21, 2018 12:33 AM IST

As a last resort to make the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) G North ward perform its duties, Mahim residents have started a signature campaign for removing slums on footpaths and thereby implementing the Bombay high court’s order that bans encroachments within a 150-metre radius around the station.

After the residents’ initial written pleas to the ward office to take action failed to yield response, they decided on a collaborative campaign with the Advanced Locality Management (ALM).

Herman Dias, secretary of the ALM said, “We are constantly under the threat of road accidents as there is no space to walk on the footpaths. Many locals including elderly and children have lost their lives in road accidents here. Even few of the encroachers have been victims. Encroachments are mushrooming everywhere. The BMC has completely failed us.”

Dias said if the signature campaign fails, then the next resort would be to file a contempt of court against the BMC.

BMC assistant commissioner Ashok Khairnar said, “We take regular action on encroachments but they keep cropping up. The people living there are mostly basket weavers with make-shift tents, which they hide when a demolition is planned. Also, human rights organisations stop us from forcefully removing the encroachments.”

Locals claim a cycle stand meant for the civic body’s pet cycle-track project is now gathering dust as no one uses it and is instead aiding encroachers.

As of now, the ALM has gathered more than 300 signatures and it aims to get around 3000 signatures in a week’s time to force the BMC to take timely action and get a permanent solution.

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