The decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to set up hawking zones despite protests from locals has infuriated residents of Tony Enclave of Pali Hill in Bandra (West). The Pali Hill Residents Association wrote to the H-West ward officials on Saturday, stating their opposition to the plan.
Residents of the locality, which houses many Bollywood actors, have been at loggerheads with the BMC over the allotment of vending rights to hawkers in the area.
Earlier this year, the BMC under the Centre’s Street Vending Act 2014 had issued a notice allowing 1,934 hawkers to set up pitches in more than 50 footpaths in Bandra alone.
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After protests from locals, it had backed off from the decision. However, early last week it came out with a list allowing a minimum of 10 hawkers on the Pali Hill’s Nargis Dutt Road.
The area has till now been free of hawkers and is being maintained by the association. The new list, according to residents, was put up in the local ward office discreetly to avoid further uproar.
“They have made a mistake for the second time in a row and the officials also wanted to get away with it. What is also shocking is that we met the officials 20 days ago but none of them mentioned about the new hawking list,” said association secretary Madhu Poplai.
Earlier in the year, BMC’s first plan ran into trouble with residents taking out a massive protest against the authorities. Various resident associations held protests in Dadar, Matunga, Bandra, Kandivali, Borivali and Churchgate.
One of the protests was also held by Rishi Kapoor, who opposed BMC’s plan to line vendors on Pali Hill streets, where he owns a bungalow, along with several other film stars. The civic body had then decided to create a fresh list seeking suggestions from residents.
“Though it is mandatory for officials to hold meetings with citizen groups and hawkers, it was not done. Pali Hill does not have any footpath. Where will the hawkers put up their stalls?” Poplai added.
Asif Zakaria, a Congress corporator from the area, has also written to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, seeking an extension to the deadline by which citizens can send their suggestions and objections. While the deadline is July 20, Zakaria has asked for a 30-day extension.
“It is not possible for citizens to visit the local ward offices. The list should be published on the website and in the newspaper from where it can be accessed easily,” Zakaria said.
B G Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (encroachments) said, “The lists have been put up in all the wards. We have asked zonal officers to complete the process of receiving suggestions and objections and submit it by July-end. We will look into every objection filed by residents.”