Linking Road hawkers accuse civic body of reneging on promise

42 licensed stall owners at Linking Road, Bandra were refused to relocate their shops by the civic authorities.

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Despite having a written assurance from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), around 42 licensed stall owners and their employees are fighting for their survival after being prevented from relocating to their original location on Linking Road in Khar. 

The civic body had reportedly moved them near the traffic island opposite National College in December last year as it began road-widening and repairs and reconstruction work of the footpath to ease the perpetual bottleneck caused during peak hours. On Saturday, however, as they tried to set up shop at their original location, they were shooed away by a battalion of policemen, the stall owners alleged.       

Faisal Qureshi, President of Linking Road Hawkers Association said that when they shifted them, they gave them an assurance in writing that they will be shifted back. Now that the work is done, the vendors tried to relocate on Saturday night but the ward officer informed the police that they were moving back illegally. Pyar Ali Kadiwal, another licensed stall owner who sells footwear said that their business is down as there are thousands of them right from the karigars to those who supply the materials who have been affected.

Sharad Ughade, assistant commissioner of BMC said that they took up the road-widening at Linking Road as it was the last bottleneck remaining to be cleared. After taking a setback from the garden, they increased two additional lanes from National College up to KFC. This was the only bottleneck as all traffic due to Metro work comes to Linking Road. There is a patch near Gazebo towards Patwardhan park that must remain clear at all times.

Upon being asked about the assurance that was given to the stall owners in writing, promising them their original spots once the work was complete, Ughade remained evasive. He further said that there are finishing touches that are still to be added and the railing work isn’t complete yet. Somebody is trying to misguide and provoke them. The authorities will have a dialogue with the stall owners soon and resolve the issue.

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