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Hawkers encroach footpaths, cycle tracks of newly constructed roads, cause inconvenience

The freshly painted footpath and cycling tracks have now become haven for hawkers selling vegetables, dryfruits, fruits and even sweaters for the winter season. 

pune Updated: Dec 12, 2017 16:01 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
hawkers,encroachment,new roads
Hawkers encroaching the footpath along Raj Bhavan road on Monday.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The recent transformation of the Raj Bhavan road from Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) to Bremen chowk is almost ready with a dedicated cycle track and a wide footpath. Although there are some gaps where work is still pending, the freshly painted footpath and cycling tracks have now become haven for hawkers selling vegetables, dryfruits, fruits and even sweaters for the winter season.

Residents, however, complained that the illegal hawkers selling their items on the footpath are causing traffic chaos with bottlenecks due to people randomly parking their vehicles on the road to purchase the fruits and vegetables.

These hawkers are seen selling their wares stacked in mini tempos parked on the roadside. Ganesh Kalapure, resident of Aundhgaon, said, “First it was just one van selling fruits, but soon others followed, including shoe sellers and others. We were appreciating the newly-constructed footpath and a cycle track, but it is sad to see it being used by hawkers like this,” said Kalapure.

Santosh Chavan lives in Chavannagar, off Raj Bhavan road, and while returning from work he was surprised to see two-wheelers parked haphazardly just after Bal Kalyan Sanstha. To his dismay, it was the sale of fresh apples at flat rate had caused this traffic jam. “I have noticed a growth in the number of hawkers encroaching on this road ever since the new dedicated cycle track was made. The hawkers were here before too, but now they have blatantly used the entire stretch of the road to spread their wares. So if a person were to even think of cycling, he might have to rethink his idea of cycling.”

Similar situations have been noticed in the other parts of the city too. While the construction work on Satara road has been causing lot of inconvenience to commuters, the illegal hawkers on the roadside and footpaths have created fresh bottlenecks, causing traffic chaos during evening hours when the rush is high.

"The civic body has spent crores of rupees to build large footpaths and cycle tracks. But, they are being used by hawkers to sell their stuff," said 27-year-old businessman Ajay Taware.He said the hawkers are creating major problems as the people park their vehicles on the road to buy fruits and other items from these hawkers. "The vehicles parked on the road occupy the space meant for vehicles to commute."

Another resident Ruhi Joshi said, it becomes difficult for pedestrians to walk on the footpaths, especially near Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park. "The illegal hawkers are creating major problems for commuters and pedestrians. The widened footpaths have already occupied the road space, aggravating the situation. While on Monday evening, the civic authorities acted against the hawkers by clearing the road. However, hours later, some of them returned,” Joshi said.

Madhav Jagtap, PMC deputy commissioner and in-charge of the anti-encroachment department, was keen on photographs as proof for the department to take action against them. “If you share the pictures, we will take action. We will rehabilitate the hawkers and the illegal hawkers will face action. Another suggestion is if people stop buying items from them, then it will bring a complete stop to such illegal sale. The PMC has a continuous project (yojana) to deal with hawkers,” he said.

“From January 1, you won’t see a hawker any where on the road besides their marked zones as we have began the process of rehabilitating the hawkers and also chalked out fine for illegal hawkers which is awaiting to be sanctioned in the general body meeting,” said Jagtap.

The PMC plans to charge Rs.3,000 from street vendors, Rs.5,000 from those selling items on handcarts, while those holding illegal stalls will be charged Rs.10,000. “Those selling the wares off the movable vehicles, we are going to charge Rs.15,000,” he stressed.

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 16:00 IST