Hawkers return to areas they were evicted from

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Barely a fortnight after BMC's crackdown on hawkers across the city, vendors have returned to the areas they were cleared from.

On January 23, BMC evicted nearly 735 from chronic bottleneck areas such as Bandra (West), Khar (West), S V Road in Borivali, Dadar, Juhu, Andheri and Bhandup. Fines to the tune of Rs 25 lakh were collected in the drive.

While Hill Road in Bandra has largely remained clear of hawkers since the drive last week, on SV Road Borivali, hawkers have returned to the arterial road where road concretisation work has already worsened traffic problems.

"We have made deals with shops where we hide. When the BMC van leaves the area, we go back. So far, no one has said anything about giving us alternative space," said a hawker outside Dadar station.

"We can remove unauthorised structures effectively only with police support. This is an on-going process. We visit the areas regularly to see that they don't return," said deputy municipal commissioner Anand Wagaralkar, in charge of removal of encroachments.

"We renewed the anti-hawkers drive because people, especially senior citizens, should have space to walk," said DCP (detection) Ambadas Pote.

"In places such as Dadar, Bhandup and Borivali, they have returned. From Bandra to Jogeshwari, the police are strict. The previous day, 15 hawkers tried to go back, the next day seven. They are tired of this mistreatment. There is no proper income and some are considering pulling their children out of school," said Daya Shankar Singh, president of Azad Hawkers' Union. Singh added that the hawkers were planning a protest in the coming weeks.

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