Four days after civic activist Raja Mirani and Ashok Bhanushali from Ghatkopar Citizen Forum resorted to fast unto death protesting the lackadaisical attitude of BMC and police towards illegal hawkers, politicians bee-lined at the public protest in Ghatkopar on Saturday, to support the cause.
Raja and Bhanushali had started their campaign against the illegal hawkers in Ghatkopar a few months ago. Even after repeated complaints and correspondences the civic authorities did not take any action other than few superficial raids and shooing away the illegal hawkers on few occasions. Upset with no concrete action from the BMC and police, the duo along with hundreds of supporters resorted to fast since four days.
On Saturday, corporators – Falguni Dave, Rakhee Jadhav, Pravin Chheda, Ashwin Vyas and other local politicians visited the protesters and vowed to fight against illegal hawkers. Ironically, residents have complained to same people in the past.
“BMC takes away our part of building’s land under the name of set-back area and constructs footpaths and allow the illegal hawkers to thrive their business on them. Moreover, illegal hawkers get free space, free electricity and free water,” said Bhanushali reasoning their fast and people’s support.
Raja Mirani said that politicians have always played a vital role in extending their support to illegal hawkers. “Ghatkopar is a residential area. Hawkers run their business till 3.00 am just outside our buildings and ruin our peace of mind. In evening women cannot even walk safely since hooligans lodge themselves at these stalls and pass lewd comments. And there is no one to hear our grievances,” said Mirani.