Encouraged by the ongoing drive to evict illegal hawkers from public places, citizens are asking that illegal permanent stalls that have come up in different places should be removed also.
The citizens say that some stalls, which were given licences, have changed their business subsequently, while many other stalls have been extended beyond their licensed area. “There are cobler's units that have been converted into food stalls, and some that are selling toys, stationery, even bags,” said Neil Pereira, a resident of Bandra (West). “Some licensed stall owners have sublet their places and some of the current operators have extended their shops illegally, occupying space on the footpaths and roads.”
Pereira discovered this through an application under the Right to Information about stalls outside St Joseph's convent school on Hill Road. “In 1998, the school had given a part of land that was a graveyard for nuns who had passed away, for the footpath. This was intended to benefit schoolchildren to walk freely on the footpath. But, the BMC has done an injustice by allowing the stalls to come up here. Now, it should revoke the licences of those stall owners who have done such illegalities,” Pereira said.
Aftab Siddique, a social activist in adjacent Bandra, said there were many illegal stalls in the Linking Road and Pali Road areas. “Some of them have forged documents to get the permission. The BMC must remove these stalls and prosecute the stall owners,” Siddique said.
Anand Wagralkar, deputy municipal commissioner for removal of encroachments, said, “We normally remove illegal stalls regularly. We will now strengthen our drive to remove these stalls.”
Anil Joseph, president of the Perry Road Residents' Association in Bandra, said, “It is good that the hawker removal drive has been continued for a week. But, the civic authorities must clear the illegal stalls and extensions also.”