Days after several licensed hawkers were evicted to clear the way for a civic bus service from the proposed Mandai bus stand, the area has been taken over by motorists who illegally park their vehicles at the vacant spot.
On a trial basis, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) authorities started one bus service from Mandai to Kothrud recently. They are planning to increase routes from the bus stand in the near future.
To reduce congestion at the stop, where nearly 37 vendors were selling their wares, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) last week shifted the hawkers inside Mandai market.
However, when MiD DAY visited the spot yesterday, it was found that four-wheelers and auto rickshaws were illegally parked there, creating a hurdle for the PMPML buses.
Jeetendra Bhagwat, a commuter, said, “It is a good initiative to start a bus service from Mandai. Earlier, the location was congested with hawkers. But after they shifted, the place is now chock-a-block with autos and four wheelers, which is hindering the movement of the PMPML bus. They should not be allowed to park there and action should be taken against them.”
The bus stop is near the Tilak Statue in Mandai, and every half-an-hour a PMPML bus arrives here, which is the starting point for the bus service to Kothrud. PMC has assigned three staffers to check the illegal parking, but commuters said most of the times they are nowhere to be found.
PMPML Traffic Manager, Sunil Gavali, said, “Till now we have only started one shuttle service from Mandai to Kothrud Depot with 15 minutes frequency. Since we haven’t got any firm reply from the civic body yet, we cannot start a fixed service from Mandai. So we are taking it step by step and only after getting confirmation from the PMC, we will start more bus services.” Meanwhile, the PMC anti-encroachment head Madhav Jagtap said, “We have cleared this area by shifting all the hawkers inside the Mandai market. Also we have deployed a squad of three at the spot to ensure that the hawkers don’t return and no one parks their vehicles here. PMPML is thinking of starting more routes from here and we are helping them out. We appeal to the public to send in their suggestions and complaints so that we can improve the services in this project.”
Rajabhau Dimbar, a fruit stall owner who was shifted from the spot, is displeased with the development. “On Saturday, we were shifted from here to Mandai market and since then our business has been affected. It is now a question of our survival. We want our old spot again as we have a PMC licence to carry out our business. We request PMC officials to give us our spot back.”