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Mayor wants police to act tough on hawkers

Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya is unhappy that in spite of his dictum to Kolkata police to remove all the illegal structures from the city roads and footpaths there has been no visible difference.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | January 6, 2009 1:42:29 am

Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya is unhappy that in spite of his dictum to Kolkata police to remove all the illegal structures from the city roads and footpaths there has been no visible difference.

Around four months ago,Bhattacharya had asked the police to remove all the permanent structures made of woods and plastics by the hawkers along the city roads and footpaths. The police and the civic body are yet to execute the order and have cited several problems faced by them in evicting the hawkers.

“No change is visible till now. All the roads and footpaths have been encroached by the hawkers till date. Even though,it is a socio-economic problem,the administration has to act tough in some important areas of the city,” said Bhattacharya.

Police,on the other hand,claim that they are trying to demolish all the structures set up by the hawkers but are facing innumerable problems.

“We have already removed many structures from Fairlie and Dalhousie in the central Kolkata and Jadubabur Bazzar in south Kolkata. Rest of the areas will also be cleared soon. But we are facing a serious problem in removing the structure. Since hawkers are the part of the socio-economic problem of the city,it cannot be removed fully,” said K Harirajan,additional police commissioner.

“In areas like Camac Street and Theatre Road,we have evicted hawkers several times and demolished their structures. But they keep on coming back. They are also fighting for their existence. So it is a serious issue and has to be tackled with patience,” added Harirajan.

Amid this,the hawkers have something else to say. They blame it on a nexus between some of their people and the police.

“We are ready to sell our commodities in the regulated way. But often we see that the secret nexus between police and some of the hawkers is taking its toll on us,though we try to abide by the norms,” added Shaktiman Ghosh,general secretary,Hawkers Sangram Samity

“For instance,hawkers have been removed from the theatre road. But after a couple of days of the eviction drive police relocated some of the hawkers on the same stretch by accepting bribe from them,” added Ghosh.

In this turmoil,the pedestrians are at the receiving end who hardly get any space to walk on the footpaths and are forced to walk on the roads.

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