Here’s why Pune’s footpaths are ‘for hawkers’ and not pedestrians
All the important areas of Pune Cantonment area are occupied by illegal hawkers who fear neither the police nor the administration. Residents say that hawkers have been able to gain complete control over the anti-encroachment department of PCB though corruption and so, no action is being taken against them.pune Updated: Jun 13, 2018 15:11 IST
The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) seems to have turned a blind eye to the encroachment on public spaces, including illegal handcarts and stalls which allegedly have the backing of a section of elected members.
Social activists and lawyers state that almost all the arterial areas of Pune cantonment are under occupation and illegal hawkers are going about their business without any fear of crackdown. There are more than 200 carts, 100 illegal stalls and 500 hawkers operating illegally in the PCB area. Residents are upset with the rising hawker menace.
All the important areas of Pune Cantonment area are occupied by illegal hawkers who fear neither the police nor the administration. Residents say that hawkers have been able to gain complete control over the anti-encroachment department of PCB though corruption and so, no action is being taken against them.
However,D N Yadav, chief executive officer, Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) said that strict action will be taken against all illegal hawkers soon. “The board has prepared a detailed action plan and the nuisance prevention and anti encroachment squad will swing into action and remove the hawkers. Residents must direct their complaints to us, so that action can be taken at the earliest ,” said Yadav.
Advocate Netraprakash Bhog , a resident of Pune Cantonment, has been fighting a three decade long battle against illegal hawkers. He had petitioned the court and sent a legal notice to the PCB regarding the hawkers. In his notice, he had pointed out the apathy of the encroachment removal squad of PCB. The squad is failing in its duty to check the encroachments and is in fact encouraging violation of law for personal gains. The notice also states that none of the vendors have licence for their business. The hawkers are occupying a major portion of the cantonment roads and carriageway causing nuisance and traffic snarls in the area and need to be removed with immediate effect.
“Local goondas are collecting rent from vendors for using the roadsides. This clearly means that cantonment roads are their private property and not public property. The cantonment officials are looking the other way as they are bribed. The current situation in PCB is a reflection of the wilful neglect of the anti encroachment staff in carrying out their duties. Top PCB officials are also supporting this ,” he said.
Vikas Bhambure, RTI activist, had filed a RTI application to know the number of illegal handcarts and stalls that were seized from February 14 to March 31 in the anti encroachment drive. He was told that only 39 handcarts were seized while the actual figure was over 150. He was shocked as he was given incorrect information by PCB.
First Published: Jun 13, 2018 14:59 IST