Mumbai: 2,000 Kandivli locals demand 'right to walk'

The protest march was held by residents of the 40 societies in Lokhandwala Township to highlight civic woes faced by them; ask political parties to keep distance

Fed up of being neglected by civic authorities and receiving hollow assurances from political parties about resolving their problems, over 2,000 residents of a posh township in Kandivli (East) poured on to the streets yesterday morning to protest against encroachment of footpaths by illegal hawkers, and various other issues in the locality.

The protest started at 10 am from Lokhandwala Circle, near Centrium Mall, with protestors holding placards, raising slogans and singing songs to highlight their problems
The protest started at 10 am from Lokhandwala Circle, near Centrium Mall, with protestors holding placards, raising slogans and singing songs to highlight their problems

Irked by lack of walking space for pedestrians, residents of Lokhandwala Complex launched an extensive door-to-door signature campaign and collected over 5,000 signatures from the locals demanding ‘right to walk’ on the footpaths and other commuting issues.

The list of demands and the signatures were later forwarded to the municipal commissioner and traffic authorities. The protest, which lasted for over two hours, saw large-scale participation from senior citizens, women and children alike, demanding their civic rights.

“Over 740 hawkers have taken over the footpaths on the road that leads to the Western Express Highway (WEH). Senior citizens, women and children struggle to walk because the footpaths have been encroached by illegal hawkers. And their number is only increasing with each passing day.

Till date, numerous accidents have occurred because of this,” said Vikas Kanchan from LOTO Citizens group that organised the protest. He also urged the locals to refrain from buying vegetables and other goods from the hawkers.

‘Politicos stay away’
“We told every political party to keep distance from the protest, as it was simply a civic problem and not a political issue. All of them had given assurances, but none worked to resolve the problems,” said Rajesh Kulkarni, a key member of the group.

The protest started at 10 am from Lokhandwala Circle, near Centrium Mall, with protestors holding placards, raising slogans and singing songs to highlight their problems. The protest concluded at the Lokhandwala Circle, where the people from all walks of life gathered to voice their opinions.

“Illegal parking of trucks, buses and other vehicles is a major nuisance and concern for the smooth flow of traffic in the township. The authorities are turning a blind eye despite repeated complaints,” said Roy Verghese, another group member.

The group claimed that the protest was apparently the largest ever held in the township, wherein at least one member from the 5,012 families residing in the 40 societies of the township participated.

Politician speak
Local politician and Member of Parliament Gopal Shetty, said, “I got to know about the protest march by the residents of Lokhandwala township highlighting issues like traffic chaos, illegal hawkers and truck parking in the area. It has always been my wish that citizens participate in agitations focusing on civic issues.

In the last one year, we have tried solving several issues and succeeded in finding solutions to many, such as waterlogging at circle by building cross culverts, RCC work in township and restricting M&M trucks entry on Akurli Road to ease traffic and reducing truck parking in Lokhandwala.

We initiated an access road process through M&M into Thakur village. Some issues are time consuming, for which we have already taken initiatives to resolve them. My best wishes are with the residents who participated in the march and I wholeheartedly support all the residents of the township,” said Shetty.

40
No of societies that form the Lokhandwala Township

5,012
No of families that reside in the township

5,000
No of signatures collected during door-to-door campaign

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