Prayers answered: BMC bans hawkers at Mahim church every Wednesday

Church management and local public representatives had complained about the hawkers, as churchgoers and walkers found it difficult to use the footpath due to its encroachment

The churchgoers of St Michael’s Church at Mahim can now heave a sigh of relief, since the BMC has imposed a ban on hawkers near it every Wednesday, when Novenas are held.

The footpath near St Michael’s Church was free of hawkers on yesterday. Usually, it is full of hawkers selling candles, gift articles, flowers, clothes and other knick-knacks. Pic/Shadab Khan
The footpath near St Michael’s Church was free of hawkers on yesterday. Usually, it is full of hawkers selling candles, gift articles, flowers, clothes and other knick-knacks. Pic/Shadab Khan

A van of civic officials has been posted here every Wednesday for the past three weeks to make sure that hawkers don’t take over the footpath.

The church is one of the oldest in the city, and has a large number of visitors coming in every Wednesday. The church holds Novenas every Wednesday and many hawkers occupy the footpath to sell their wares. This is not only for candles or flowers, they also sell gift articles, clothes and other knick-knacks.

This posed a problem for churchgoers who had to walk through the crowd to enter the premises. Also, since hawkers occupied the footpath, pedestrians were forced to walk on the road.

After the church management and local public representatives complained to the BMC, the civic body took the decision to implement the ban. Even the traffic police, in their routine meetings, had pointed out the problem to the ward staff.

“Taking all of these into account, we decided to ban hawkers here. We station one van and five to six officials at the spot every Wednesday from 9 am to 9 pm. They make sure that no hawker is allowed to sell here. We started the action about three weeks ago and it will continue,” said Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner, G/North ward.

While there were reports of hawkers sneaking into the area repeatedly, when mid-day visited the spot, none was to be seen. The area and adjoining lanes remained clear on Wednesday.

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