Mumbai: Illegal newsstand standoff troubles Ghatkopar society

Though BMC received a signed petition from society members in March, it has yet to decide if the structure is illegal

An illegal newspaper stand is creating numerous problems for the 260 families residing at Ciba Industrial Workers’ CHS at Ghatkopar West. It has been two months since society members have been complaining to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Ghatkopar police station and the local corporator over this illegal newspaper stand, which cropped up overnight along the boundary walls of their society. However, this problem has not yet been addressed. 


The illegal newspaper library outside Ciba Industrial Workers’ CHS, Amrut Nagar, at Ghatkopar (West). Pic/SayyedSameer Abedi

There is a slum pocket right across the road in front of the residential society. The residents claim that with the newspaper stand coming up, unwarranted activities like eve-teasing, slum dwellers sitting on the pavement and erecting temporary seats next to the newspaper stand, and at times drinking alcohol, have begun. There’s a tube-light fitted on the newspaper stand, which the residents say makes these slum dwellers hang around near the area even during night hours.

According to the residents, the structure cropped up overnight around two months ago, without any intimation to the society. A society member said, “We face problems after evening hours, and our families don’t feel safe crossing the entrance gate, as these slum dwellers occupy the footpath where the stand has been erected.” The structure has a temporary seat created out of Kaddapa stone and paver blocks have been used to support it on either end.

Raju Ghuge, an NCP leader from Ghatkopar said, “I will visit the spot on Monday along with a BMC officer and
investigate the matter and take action.”

The residents had approached Ghuge, since his name has been put up on the stand. The residents fear that this type of illegal encroachment might spread in the vicinity if the BMC or police don’t take corrective action.

“Once we get the date to demolish the structure, we will put security on the spot,” said a police officer. The 260 families of the society have submitted a signed petition to the BMC in March as well. SM Dwiwedi, BMC N-ward office in-charge, said, “Action will be taken if the structure is found illegal.”

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