Thane residents start postcard campaign to tackle hawker menace

Published: Jul 16, 2019, 12:06 IST | Anamika Gharat

The residents, who have been crusading against scores of hawkers occupying the pavements of the Gladys Alvares Marg for the past two months, resorted to the postcard campaign to mount pressure on the Thane civic chief

Thane residents start postcard campaign to tackle hawker menace
Representational Pic

In a novel protest, the residents of a dozen major housing societies along Thane’s Gladys Alvares Marg on Monday dashed off 1,000-odd postcards to Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal, seeking his intervention in the hawkers’ menace faced by them and demanding declaration of the entire stretch of GA Marg as a “No Hawking Zone”.

The residents, who have been crusading against scores of hawkers occupying the pavements of the Gladys Alvares Marg for the past two months, resorted to the postcard campaign to mount pressure on the Thane civic chief to intervene in the situation and call a meeting of residents representatives to evict hawkers from the busy road and declare the area as “No Hawkers Zone”.

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“Despite our repeated representations, a silent morcha, a meeting with local corporators and scores of tweets, the TMC chief had not bothered to respond to our crusade. As a means to reach out to him, we have posted 1052 postcards addressed to the Thane Municipal Commissioner Jaiswal today. We have sought an audience and a permanent solution to the hawkers’ menace,” T N Raghunatha, secretary of Eden Woods complex, one of the crusading complexes.

“Our patience was running out. We had to do something different. That’s why we resorted to mass postcard campaign to force the TMC chief to act. We will continue our crusade in a peaceful manner till our objective is met,” Arvind Nadkarni, Secretary of Lokpuram, another leading housing complex said.

Also Read: Mumbai: Central Railway now gets official hawkers to curb illegal ones

After months of protests that saw them make several representations to the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) seeking removal of illegal hawkers from their area, the residents had taken out a silent morcha on June 2 and followed it up with a public meeting with local corporators on June 9 to press for declaration of Gladys Alvares Marg as a “no-hawking” zone and shifting of the licenced hawkers to designated hawking zones in the neighbourhood.

Apart from Eden Woods and Lokpuram, the residents from other housing complexes like Niharika, Vasundhara, Glendale, Lok Upvan Phase-I and II, Shubharambh, Ashar Residency, Hill Garden and Valley Towers are participating in the crusade against hawkers.

“Because of hawkers’ menace, the residents – particularly senior citizens -- have no footpaths to walk. We have traffic jams every evening on GA Marg which has been ironically been declared by the TMC as a model road. Illegal hawkers and food trucks pose a health hazard. Mishaps are waiting to happen, as use gas cylinders/stoves,” Raghunatha said.

Raghunatha and Kulkarni slammed that the TMC for its failure to use a full-fledged market constructed by it at Khevra Circle for accommodating the legal hawkers there. “After the construction, the TMC – for reasons best known to it --- handed over the structure to the office of Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA). Our demand is that the TMC should take back the premises from SRA and use the place to accommodate the licenced vegetable and fruit vendors there,” they said.

Prithvi Raj, a senior citizen who along with several other residents has put to scores of tweets drawing the TMC’s to the hardships faced by the residents in the area, said: “I am surprised that despite our having put out 100-odd tweets addressed to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the TMC chief, Mayor and others, Mr Jaiswal has chosen not to intervene in the situation. Being a public servant, it is time he looks into and redresses our grievance”

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