Removal of illegal hawkers must be definitive

Published: Feb 12, 2020, 05:18 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

It is important to move ahead and see what happens next in Colaba, designated as heritage, as it is also vital that lessons are learnt from the past

This picture has been used for representation purpose only
This picture has been used for representation purpose only

A report in this paper on Tuesday detailed how a meeting between shop owners in Colaba, locals and elected representatives concentrated on two aspects — beautification of the Colaba area and the bigger question — hawkers.

The Colaba Causeway is finally being cleared of illegal hawkers.

While it is good that the big questions regarding Colaba are finally being answered, one can only rue the fact that the problem was allowed to fester for so many years, with the Causeway strip becoming a tinderbox, since it was overrun by hawkers.

It is important to move ahead and see what happens next in the area, designated as heritage, as it is also vital that lessons are learnt from the past. How did so many illegal hawkers simply plant themselves on the causeway with no checks by the relevant authorities?

Why were they allowed to store their goods, at times, in buildings' entrances or at the mouth of buildings, blocking access for people?

Why is it that in this country, you pay a price for being legitimate will the others tend to get away?

Shop-owners have suffered because access to their shops is reduced or store-front windows are invisible, as hawkers' wares obstruct them. Tax-paying citizens continue to stew and suffer.

Similar scenarios are being played out elsewhere. Shop-owners are in despair with the mushrooming hawkers and so many little stalls taking over the area, while residents have hardly any place to walk.

Clean-up drives are initiated but there is a boomerang effect when the illegal sellers return.

Work together to find a solution to these problems. It is a huge powder-keg for the city where frustrations run high and only one spark of rage will set things aflame.
We need an end and more importantly, there should not be a repeat of this problem in areas that get cleaned up.

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