Mumbai: Hawkers look to take over Rs 8-crore Andheri auto deck

According to railway sources, every other day some vendor tries to set up a stall close to the elevated deck, which has not served its purpose since it was opened late last year

Hawkers may have found a new place to peddle their wares at Andheri railway station — the auto deck built by Western Railway (WR) authorities. According to railway sources, every other day some hawker tries to set up shop on the structure and flees when he sees a policeman.

A hawker selling his wares on the auto deck
A hawker selling his wares on the auto deck

The 100-metre-long auto deck at Andheri (East) has been built between the north and middle foot over bridges (FOBs). It is connected to the north FOB and continues down a ramp to the M V Road below. The autos are supposed to climb up from Swami Nityanand road, pick up commuters, cross the north FOB and go down the ramp to return to the road on the eastern side of the station.

The auto deck connects to the FOB that leads to the Metro railway bridge. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The auto deck connects to the FOB that leads to the Metro railway bridge. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

However, the structure has been lying unused because the M V Road end is too narrow for autos to come out from and is flanked by shops, which need to be cleared for the road to be widened. Thus, the R8-crore structure presently serves as a connecting bridge for pedestrians wishing to move from one FOB to another especially to the north FOB, which leads to the Metro railway station.

Taking advantage of this constant stream of potential customers, hawkers have been attempting to take over the space. Sources said that almost every other day, some hawker or vendor tries to set up a stall close to the elevated deck. They flee on seeing railway police or other cops.

When mid-day visited the spot, a young boy was seen selling wares on the ramp connecting to the north FOB a vital connector to the Metro railway station. On the other end of this ramp is the Andheri Government Railway Police (GRP) station.

“I will ask my men to check and ensure there are no hawkers,” said Anand Vijay Jha, senior divisional security commissioner (Mumbai), Western Railway. Incidentally, WR recently inaugurated an integrated security system at Andheri station, wherein CCTV cameras will monitor the entire railway station premises, including the FOBs.

Sources said that, late in the night, there are miscreants sitting on the footpath on the elevated deck. “The reason why the autos are unable to use this auto deck and why it’s lying unused is because the road towards the eastern side (joining M V Road) is narrow and there are shops that need to be relocated,” said a WR official, adding that the authorities are in touch with the civic body to find a solution to this issue.

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