Mateen Hafeez & Bhavika Jain TNN
Eviction Squads S To Be Escorted By Police
Mumbai: The BMC's drive against illegal hawkers is set to intensify with the police saying that maximum security will be provided to the civic squads involved in such actions.
The assurance from police commissioner Rakesh Maria comes in the wake of an attack on a TV journalist. A group of hawkers had misbehaved with the journalist's wife in Malad a fortnight ago. When Prasad confronted them, they attacked him.
Maria said he had received several complaints about hawkers misbehaving with people, especially women. In a letter to BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte, Maria said maximum police escort would be provided to the civic teams.
BMC sources said that first it would start a drive against those involved in illegal hawking near railway stations. Then the drive will be extended to different parts of the city.
There are only 1.2 lakh registered hawkers in the city . But officials say that there could be equal number of unauthorized hawkers operat ing with the BMC's license.
There have instances of hawkers manhandling and assaulting civic officials while on eviction drive due to lack of inadequate police protection.
“We have been trying to get the BMC to evict hawkers in Vile Parle for a long time now, but they always tell us that they aren't getting enough police protection. Now, with the police commissioner taking this proactive step, the eviction drives should begin immediately ,“ said Rajni Vats, a member of the K-west residents associ ation that represents areas like Vile Parle, Juhu and Andheri.
“Even if the police commissioner has committed to providing protection during eviction drives, the local police will still act evasive. The civic body , local police and the hawkers are a part of a welloiled nexus that can not be broken easily . Eviction drive is not effective as the hawkers are back to their business the very next day ,“ said Sanjay Samat, a member of the Naigaon residents' association in Dadar (E).
The Times of India, May 19, 2014