Thane: Mumbra's illegal shops rise from the rubble

Updated: Nov 18, 2016, 17:14 IST | Faisal Tandel

In May, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) carried out a massive demolition drive in Mumbra, tearing down thousands of illegal shops that blocked the road from the station, for a road-widening project

The illegal hawkers and vehicles have re-occupied their spaces after the May demolition. Pic/Sameer Markande
The illegal hawkers and vehicles have re-occupied their spaces after the May demolition. Pic/Sameer Markande

In May, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) carried out a massive demolition drive in Mumbra, tearing down thousands of illegal shops that blocked the road from the station, for a road-widening project. But razing them to the ground hasn’t worked, for the illegal hawkers are back in business, leaving hapless residents with distant dreams of the unclogged roads they were promised. More than 40% of the shops demolished over six months ago have come up again.

TMC demolished thousands of illegal structures in May
TMC demolished thousands of illegal structures in May

Demolition man unaware
Residents claim that the authorities have let the demolished structures rise another time instead of taking action against them. This ‘development’ seems to be off the radar of TMC Commissioner ‘Demolition Man’ Sanjeev Jaiswal as well, as he has not visited the area after the demolition in May.

The illegal hawkers and parked vehicles leave no space for residents to walk. Back in May, the authorities had claimed their massive drive was to decongest the space and free the road from traffic, but the opposite has happened in the months since.

Chaos reigns
A resident of the Amrut Nagar area, whose building is located close to the road said, “We were happy that most of the hawkers vanished after the massive drive, making the street quiet and free for people and vehicles to move. But the hawkers have come up again. We cannot sit at home anytime as it is chaotic the whole day. Nobody asks them to move as they come to homes with swords to threaten them.”

“The hawkers have almost covered most of the space where the road was supposed to be widened. The entire 2-km stretch from Amrut Nagar to Kausa is full of them, leading to traffic jams,” the resident added.

TMC’s neglect
Anis Fodkar, another resident of Mumbra said, “I was happy after the drive [in May] as roads were free and there was no traffic or chaos. But TMC neglected the area after the drive, as most of the space freed after the demolition is now used for parking vehicles, leaving no space for motorists to drive.

Politicos benefit
The hawkers and parked vehicles aren’t the only ones benefiting from the space. mid-day observed that the office of Rajan Kine, former Congress corporator who is now in the Nationalist Congress Party has risen once again. Eight more shops have been built next to the office. Two are near Ganesh Bhavan, few near the Mumbra bazaar, Sanjay Nagar Naka and Shankar Mandir.

Rafiq Kamdar, a local activist and Mumbra resident said, “The corporation is hand in glove with the owners and is allowing them to build the shops. Once demolished, why are they allowing the shops to come up again? People who are paying a good amount are being allowed to build.”

Succumbing to pressure?
“Dayanand Gore, the executive engineer is doing the demolition on his own and the Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal is not aware of it. Are the authorities succumbing to political pressure or was the previous demolition just a trick to earn money and then allow reconstruction?” said Kamdar.

Kamdar added, “The booths allotted by TMC to the disabled were also demolished. They were paying tax to the corporation and then too they were demolished. The commissioner should look into the matter and visit Mumbra once to clear the doubt of the residents.”

Official speak
Dhananjay Gosavi, executive engineer of the Mumbra ward committee said, “We demolished around 262 shops. Around 95 of them were shifted, while 75 are still remaining. Those [shops] that are not included the development plan are building their structures. I informed my seniors about the construction of Rajan Kine’s office, but [Deputy Municipal Commissioner] Sandeep Malvi allowed him to construct it.” Sandeep Malvi who is also the Public Relations Officer said, “We will take details regarding the same and will take proper action.” mid-day contacted Sanjeev Jaiswal repeatedly but he remained unavailable for comment.

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