Mumbai marches to save residential spaces

Apr 20, 2015, 07:22 IST | Tanvi Deshpande and Delaveen Tarapore

Thousands of citizens took part in a city-wide protest yesterday to express their displeasure at the BMC’s plan to open up residential spaces to hawkers

Dadar Parsi Colony
Around 1,500 people gathered at the Dadar Parsi Colony alone, in a march organised by the Parsi community, which started from Khorshed Bharucha chowk near J B Vachha High School and ended at Mancherji Joshi statue at the entrance to the colony. Personalities such as former model Mehr Jessia and singer Penaz Masani turned up to support the cause as well.

Pics/Suresh KK

I’m glad that the Parsi community came down together as one to save the very sanctity of this place. This colony houses innumerable old people who live alone… having hawkers might cause security concerns for them. - Khurshed Dastur, Parsi priest

An under-construction market in Pali Hill area is an important case in point here. The construction of that market has been languishing for four years, and, so, hawkers continue to ferry goods outside. The BMC needs to know that we simply won’t have it in residential areas. If people are ready to go to malls, they will be willing to go to municipal markets also. - Shyama Kulkarni trustee, Action for good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI)

We are not against hawkers who want to earn a living, but it should not come at the cost of the peace of our residential area. Just because there is some open space left, doesn’t mean you can just occupy it. - Mitoo Jessica, Parsi Colony resident

The sheer numbers that came out was overwhelming. The solidarity between the Parsis and other residents of the area proved to be one thing to applaud. The peaceful nature of the Parsi community was seen as the protestors kept peace and politeness on the top of the protest agenda. It is necessary that our voices are loud enough for the BMC to hear before the sanctity of the area is bulldozed over for ever. - Freyan Bhathena, Founding editor, Parsi Times community newspaper

Lokhandwala, Kandivli
Citizens also turned up to protest at Lokhandwala Complex in Kandivli, where the BMC has proposed an addition of more than 700 hawkers. Residents were of the opinion that the BMC should build a separate mall for hawkers instead of usurping open public spaces in residential areas.

Pic/Romita Chakraborty
Pic/Romita Chakraborty

A hawking zone in a largely residential area like Lokhandwala will directly affect emergency services here. A newly built portion of Akurli Road has been marked as a hawking zone. Besides, a plan for 100 hawkers has been proposed at Mhada Road No. 1, despite the road being extremely narrow. If a fire breaks out there in the future, fire engines or ambulances will have a tough task reaching the spot. - Vikas Kanchan, Kandivli resident

Official speak
The new hawking policy is not yet been finalised. We will definitely consider citizens’ input in the policy, as they are one of the major stakeholders. The Town Vending Committee will finalise the policy, since it has the executive powers. The policy will then go to the state government for final approval. Right now, it is only in the initial stages. - Pallavi Darade, additional municipal commissioner, BMC

Number of hawkers the BMC proposes to add to the Lokhandwala Complex area

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