'Shift hawkers from footpaths to skywalks'

Oct 30, 2015, 07:32 IST | Tanvi Deshpande

Kandivli corporator Ajanta Yadav wants hawkers be relocated to rarely used skywalks; claims it will clear footpaths for pedestrians, reduce unwanted traffic jams and help the civic body generate revenue

In what could definitely be termed as out of the box thinking, Congress corporator from R/South Ward seems to have found a solution for the hawkers’ menace that ails the city. In a notice of motion (suggestion) forwarded to the BMC on October 12, Ajanta Yadav has demanded that hawkers be shifted to the rarely used skywalks.

Justifying her demand to relocate hawkers to skywalks, Ajanta Yadav said most of them were unutilised. File pic for representation
Justifying her demand to relocate hawkers to skywalks, Ajanta Yadav said most of them were unutilised. File pic for representation

She claimed this would not only help clear the footpaths for pedestrians, but also reduce unwanted traffic jams. Yadav even stated that the move would help the civic body generate revenue. Her notice of motion will be discussed during the General Assembly meet in the coming week.

Ajanta Yadav
Ajanta Yadav

“The objective is to use the space on these skywalks, most of which are currently lying unutilised. Mumbaikars don’t use most of the skywalks due to the absence of escalators. They have been encroached upon by unruly elements, further discouraging citizens from using them at night.

That is why I have made this suggestion to the BMC. It will clear footpaths for pedestrians and in turn aid smooth vehicular movement,” Yadav, who is also a member of a few of BMC committees, told mid-day.

Explaining the revenue generation part, Yadav said the BMC could charge hawkers for providing them space. When questioned about the relevance of creating hawking zones on skywalks when citizens seldom used them, she said, “Hawkers need to be accommodated somewhere. Mumbai has a space crunch and not all areas have municipal markets. Once these hawking pitches are in place, locals will frequent them.”

When asked how would BMC facilitate basic needs of hawkers — toilets and provision for drinking water — Yadav said a committee would be set up to work out the details.

‘Not a bright idea’
While Yadav seems optimistic about her solution to reign in unruly hawkers, activists and residents have questioned its efficacy. “How are they going to ensure hawkers shift to skywalks, when they have refused to relocate to municipal markets? I don’t think skywalks can be an alternative to footpaths.

Rather they will act as a supplementary. If areas like Hill Road in Bandra are cleared of hawkers, nothing like it. But the implementation of this proposal will only make way for more hawkers,” said Vidya Vaidya, member of a residents’ association from H/West ward.

Seconding Vaidya’s opinion, Aftab Siddiqui, member of Advanced Locality Management (ALM) no 144 (Bandra West), said, “Are skywalks lofts of their [politicos] houses that they think they will relocate hawkers there?

There are 111 municipal markets in the city, utilise them or find other ways in the system. Will people even go to skywalks to buy goods? They are meant for pedestrians and must remain for pedestrians.”

Did you know?
A notice of motion is a suggestion made by a corporator to the BMC. Later, a discussion on the suggestion is held in the House following which the proposal is forwarded to the municipal commissioner for his remarks.

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