Hawkers in Mumbai are feeding on corruption and they can only be evicted by people like assistant commissioner of police Vasant Dhoble. This is what former deputy commissioner of municipal corporation Govind Ragho Khairnar, said reacting to Dhoble’s transfer after a vendor drive during a drive against hawkers. “What the government did with Dhoble was not right and I feel that he is being punished like me,” he said.
Popularly known as Bombay’s demolition man, Khairnar had taken on the mighty dons and politicians by razing their illegal properties in the city, facing death threats and attacks. “They will continue to coexist but the force is failing to curb them only because there are no regular drives. What Dhoble did was right and he is being punished for it,” Khairnar told DNA.
He added that he too had faced death threats by top ministers for his actions. “First the systems do not work, if someone tries to make them work, he gets punished — not only on duty but even after retirement. Those who keep politicians happy and keep such rackets running are given benefits while on duty and even after retirement,” he added.
“I do not know Dhoble personally but there should have been a fair inquiry into the incident before transferring him,” he said. ‘’The BMC and the police seem to be failing and the only reason for that is corruption in the force. It is time for them to introspect on what is good for the public and what is not. It is the same reason that has led to the overall decline in social morality, leading to rise in incidents of goondaism, rapes and molestation. This is why hawkers have spread their net across the city without fear,’’ said the 1942-born former DMC.
He said hawking policy or scheme will not work as there are so many poor people coming to the city seeking a job. ‘’Hawkers will continue to coexist and the only solution is to limit them,’’ Khairnar, who retired in 2002, added.
Between 2000 and 2002, deputy municipal commissioner Govind Khairnar lived up to the title of ‘One Man Demolition Army’. He fought the land mafia and cleared public land of encroachments.
Khairnar joined the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as accounts officer in 1974. He took over as a ward officer in 1985. It was then that he took on illegal structures belonging to powerful politicians.