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Footpath spaces on rent in Pune, civic body slow in taking action

While the PMC is aware about the issue, not much has changed on ground as hawkers continue to be on footpaths

pune Updated: Dec 26, 2018 15:26 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Footpath,Pune Municipal Corporation
Illegal hawkers are spotted outside garment shops on Tilak road. According to the guidelines issued by the Pune Municipal Corporation hawkers or small food stalls cannot be set up in the space outside established shops.(Photo by Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

The newly widened footpaths in the city, which are already encroached by hawkers, are also being rented out to food stalls. These footpaths are being rented out by those who have shops and use footpaths as frontage.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has undertaken the widening of footpaths under its objective of beautification of the city. Footpaths have been widened on FC road, JM road, Sahakarnagar and Aundh. However, these footpaths have already been encroached on at most places and in some areas, the shop owners have illegally rented out spaces on footpaths to other stalls.

Hemant Pandey,owner of a pan shop on FC road, said,“I just have to pay Rs 8,000 per month to the owner of the restaurant for this place. I have been running this shop for more thanfive years now.” When HT confronted the restaurant management, the manager declined to make any comment on the issue.

Nitin Waghchure, a roadside vendor of electronic goods on Tilak road, said, “ At a monthly rental of Rs 7,000, I have set up my shop here since the past one year. Whenever there is any action by the PMC, the owner of the shop, outside which my shop is set up, allows me to keep my things inside the showroom.”

Similarly, Prashant Katekar runs a juice shop on JM road for six hours in the evening where he pays the owner of a shoe showroom Rs 5,000 per month. Both the shop owners at JM road and Tilak road declined to comment on the issue.

While the PMC is aware about the issue, not much has changed on ground as hawkers continue to be on footpaths.

According to the guidelines of the Pune Municipal Corporation, hawkers or small food stalls cannot be set up on the space outside established shops. However, hawkers begin their illegal operations on the footpaths (space outside the shops) by paying a fixed amount of money to the shop owners who have been consistently trivialised by the civic body, thus increasing the number of illegal hawkers in the city.

When Hindustan Times pointed out the same to the Madhav Jagtap, who is currently heading the PMC’s anti-encroachment department, he accepted the fact that there are internal settlements between the hawkers and the shopkeepers. He said, “Although we are vigilant about the illegal hawkers on footpaths, the number of these hawkers are on the rise consistently. The moment our vehicles raid the places, all these hawkers run away and keep their belongings inside the shop where they are set up.”

“This is wrong and needs to be stopped as it leads to a major chaos causing trouble to the citizens,” said Jagtap assuring that the PMC will certainly take certain action against shopkeepers engaging in such agreements with illegal hawkers.

“There have been cases when an elected representative goes for a visit to a respective place, upon seeing the representative, the hawkers clear the footpath. However, the business starts again once the inspection is over. We will take appropriate actions to get rid of these problems very soon” said Jagtap.

PMC finds spaces for 15,000 hawkers in the city

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has identified 1,000 particular spots which will be allotted to hawkers across the city. However, if the hawkers are found selling their products in the places other than the allotted ones, the civic body will take strict action against them.

Madhav Jagtap, PMC’s anti-encroachment department chief, said, “We have created zones in all the 15 wards of the city where 1,000 places have been identified for the hawkers. So far, we have already allotted spaces to 7,000 hawkers out of the total 15,000 in the city, while the remaining work is currently under progress and is expected to be over soon.”

He added, “We have also formed special teams in the anti-encroachment department in the PMC which are dedicated to keep a strict watch on these hawkers. If any hawker is found violating our instructions and is caught doing business in the space other than the allotted one, PMC will take strict action against them.”

According to Jagtap, PMC will also identify and take action in cases where the permission given by the PMC is in the name of one hawker and the business is being run by some other hawker.

All the ward officers and other officials in every ward across the city have been given strict instructions to monitor the developments in this regard and take necessary action, informed Jagtap.

However, hawkers in the city have not welcomed PMC’s action against them.

Prakash Tiwari, a hawker who has small shop on Narveer Tanaji Wadi road in Shivajinagar, said, “While PMC is allotting hawkers a particular space for shops, they have, however, overlooked the business opportunities in the respective allotted spaces. If my shop is generating good business in Shivajinagar, I might not get business once I move out of this place.”

First Published: Dec 26, 2018 14:40 IST