Residents of Sant Janabai Road at Vile Parle East are upset over two paan stalls in the vicinity, which they claim are illegal and a cause of nuisance. Two years ago, the stalls had been removed after police intervened, but they are back to the same spot.
The two paan shops at Sant Janabai Road. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
“In 2013, I had complained to the BMC and with the help of the police, one of the illegal stalls was removed. But, the stall has opened again," said Prabhakar Siddhaye, a senior citizen from Om Eesh Krupa building.
Citizens complain that they have lost a part of the footpath due to it. “Footpaths are meant for walking and not hawking. The state of footpaths is a serious concern for us. They are either broken, dug up or left to hawkers. They are of no use to us,” said PE Rao, another resident.
According to Ninad Jadhav, a resident of Yashodhan building, people park their vehicles outside the stall at night and have snacks, soft drinks and smoke. “There is a lot of din here every night and we face a lot of problems,” said Jadhav, adding that this practice also leads to littering.
Local MLA Parag Alavani said, “Illegal hawkers are a major problem in this area, and we have been fighting this menace since years. There are hundreds of tourist buses parked here illegally, too. The civic body should take action against these stall owners who have become a public nuisance.”
When this reporter asked him about the action he would take to solve this issue, Alavani put the blame on the BMC. “The stall owners pay the penalty/fine imposed by the BMC and return to set shop in the same place again. It is the civic body that must come up with more stringent laws.”
His wife Jyoti Alavani, who is the local corporator, said, “None of the citizens have complained to me about this. If they approach me and submit a letter, I will do everything possible to solve the matter. We will involve the police if required.”
According to Sharad Bande, superintendent of BMC’s Licence department, the body has stopped issuing new licences to paan stalls since 1978. “It is likely that the stall owners do not have, both, the Shops and Establishments Licence, along with a vending licence. In that case, the stalls will be removed and if they want to retain their wares, they will have to pay a fine,” said Bande.
Even Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner of Police (law and order) assured that he would take action against illegal stalls. “I will ask the local police station to look into the matter. If the stalls are illegal, we will ask the BMC to remove them.”
The other side
However, when sunday mid-day spoke to the shop owners, both of them had licences issued by the BMC. “We don’t even let people hang around here for too long,” said Vijaya Kudal, whose son owns one of the stalls. Kudal’s licence is up for renewal in 2017.