Bandra locals take to the streets for hawker-free roads

Sep 03, 2012, 07:22 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Protesting against illegal peddlers encroaching on pavements and harassing women with lewd comments, ALMs members march to voice their concerns

Bandra (West) is a shopper’s paradise with hundreds of stalls and hawkers dotting the roads and pavements selling their colourful wares. However, the area is also every Bandra resident’s nightmare, as many hawkers have encroached on pavements forcing pedestrians and residents to dodge cars and bikes in a bid to walk through these points. Frustrated with the situation, the residents took out a protest march yesterday to voice their concern and save their footpaths.

Bandra residents take out protest
Save our footpaths: Hundreds of Bandra residents take out protest march against illegal hawkers, who they say pass lewd comments against women and cause a major inconvenience to pedestrians. Pic/Sunil Tiwari

Advanced Locality Managements (ALMs) Wake Up Bandra (WUB), H-West Federation and Khar Residents Association (KRA) organised the rally at 6.30 pm yesterday from Apostalic Carmel School Bandra (West) and marched across Hill Road area and ended at St Andrew’s Church to protest against the illegal hawkers. The protest witnessed a heavy turnout and the protesters hoped their march would help in getting the authorities to take some action.

Members of the ALMs who took part in the rally yesterday said that around 150 hawkers have taken up space at Hill Road, out of which only 37 are licenced to conduct such business. Residents complained that these hawkers, having taken over the footpaths in the area, are creating them a major inconvenience.

Residents say another reason they want the hawkers off the streets is so that women can be spared of harassment. Anandini Thakoor, a member of the ALM said, “We want the women of our area to feel safe when they go out. These hawkers are really upsetting as they pass lewd comments. We are upset that despite several complaints to the BMC, no action has been taken against them.”

When MiD DAY contacted Sunil Dhamane, assistant municipal commissioner of H-west ward, he was unavailable for comment. Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Zone III), Kiran Achrekar also refused to comment on the issue.

Protecting open spaces
Meanwhile, Save Open Spaces Organisation, an umbrella branch of most ALMs in the western suburbs called a meeting yesterday with the agenda of saving all open spaces in the suburbs. The members present said that they would try to keep malls off open lands. Ashok Pandit, an active member of Juhu area, said, “We are only interested in keeping all the open spaces the way they are and also want to be a part of the Development planning committee as the representatives of the citizens, so that even the citizens are aware of what is happening in planning meetings.” 

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