Mumbai: In a sudden and unprecedented eviction drive, a special squad of the Mumbai police (west region) removed 200 unauthorized hawkers encroaching on Bandra's landmark Hill Road on Tuesday afternoon. Local residents, who have been complaining about the nuisance for years, described it as perhaps the biggest raid on illegal vendors on this prime road. The street sellers had laid siege to its pavements and spilled onto the road, obstructing vehicular traffic and pedestrian movement.
The police action came days after elected representatives from the western suburbs, including Congress MP Priya Dutt and local MLA Baba Siddique, complained to the chief minister about the "high--handedness'' of the police
action against hawkers in Vakola. Assistant commissioner of police Vasant Dhoble was transferred after a hawker died while fleeing during a raid in Vakola last week.
On Tuesday, local shopkeepers praised the police action and said Hill Road suddenly seemed to be much wider and free for shoppers and pedestrians. "Hill Road is popularly known as Hell Road because of the hawkers who have political backing,'' said Anil Joseph, chairperson, Perry Road Residents' Association.
Anandini Thakoor, chairperson, H (west) Federation said their efforts with Vishwas Nangre Patil, additional commissioner of police, has paid off. "Only 30 of the 200 hawkers are licensed. Most of them come back after the BMC vans depart. So we have to depend on police." No sympathy for hawkers, says Raj
Mumbai: Local residents and activists welcomed the clearance of hawkers by police on Tuesday.
"Apart from leaving no room for local residents to walk around, the hawkers have harassed shopkeepers. A lady shopkeeper was beaten up in September and her shoulder was broken. We have been pursuing this matter for long," said Anandini Thakoor, chairperson, H (west) Federation.
Hawkers were also cleared in many parts of Bandra, at Pali Junction near Pali Presidency Hotel, Linking Road in Khar (W) and Alpha lane (Vile Parle).
MNS president Raj Thackeray said the Democratic Front should not favour illegal hawkers from north India who have occupied pavements here. "Illegal hawkers have made life miserable for Mumbaikars. There is no need to show sympathy to those who break laws," he said.