I shifted to Mumbai in 1994 and from then on I have heard a lot of promises being made by various political parties. There is no end to promises. Late Vilasrao Deshmukh wanted to make Mumbai like Shanghai. Then annual promises by Shiv Sena ruled BMC for having a hassle free monsoon. Roads, drainage, pot holes, pole banners, endless traffic during peak hours, safety, fare refusal by taxi and rickshaw, etc. List is endless.
1995 was the year when Shiv Sena along with BJP made their first government in the state. With regard to much needed flyover and Mumbai Pune express way there is hardly anything that can be remembered that is done to keep the city clean. A genuinely conscious effort by Shiv Sena Supremo to accomodate slum dwellers legally has been misused as scheme by the builders and political parties nexus.
Illegal slums, insufficient public toilets, garbage disposal, illegal political parties and small businesses banners on walls and electric poles, etc is one area of major concern.
All political parties are responsible for this mess. BMC does good enough to keep the penalty register ticking. While Hon. Mumbai High Court has been after this quite sometime the impact is yet to be seen. Birthday celebration is one excuse and welcoming a senior political party leader in city or an area is another. BMC and Police none have the guts to remove such banners and book them the moment it is done. Unlike other cities Mumbai is not circular. With police patrolling vans practically in each area all the time this can be easily controlled. For name sake political parties have paid penalty but reality is different.
Vote bank politics is key to this nuisance. Unless the citizens come together nothing will happen. Thakur Village is a prime area in Mumbai suburb. Last year we published an issue. An illegal Pan Shop outside a prime residential apartment was to be removed. Residents followed up with corporator, BMC office, MLA and MP. Nothing happened. After much hard work it was removed but only to make a comeback after two days. Check the link.
These kind of complain are routine for BMC, police and MP, MLA. Putting issue under the carpet is simplest of the solution. Specially when politicians are involved. And this year turned out to be a nightmare for the residents of Thakur Village. In some other part of the same Thakur Village cases of molestation lead to housewives doing patrolling in many part of the locality. Random hawker removal exercise by BMC and supported by local police. The issue is why do we have reactive response? We all know the answer but who is accountable. It’s not the residents. It is the enforcement agencies who ask thousand questions to the citizens when they complaint and ensure the citizen gets fully terrorized. This is where the politicians enjoy.
A brief insight into Thakur Village and Thakur Complex. The family responsible to develop this area of Kandivli East is obviously as the name suggests Thakur. One them Ramesh Thakur was MLA on congress ticket. Now the sitting MLA is from Shiv Sena. Ramesh Thakur has switched over his loyalty to BJP. MP of the area is also from BJP. The hawkers in the area have support of BJP. Few days back MLA Prakash Surve tried to address the issue. Police was deployed, hawkers removed. And now they are back. This entire episode has now become a vicious circle and looking at the scenario BJP will have to do a lot of answering in 2019.
Now the residents are stuck in political decisions. Police and BMC play a balancing act. Look at any other place be it Bandra or Dadar, scene is more or less the same. There is big money as HAFTA in this hawker issue. As pointed out by MLA Prakash Surve.
Residents are doing whatever best in their capacity and in a civilized manner. High time administration is given free hand to deal with the situation and restore law and order.
We hope the residents get what they want. However, in our next article we shall share a technology based solution for hawkers issue. The Prime Minister and the Chief Minister have shown interest in two things. Grievance Redressal and use of Technology. For the ones who have missed out, we sharing the screen shots for reference. We are confident that not only Mumbai but other cities municipal corporation will also benefit from the solution we would share. It would eliminate HAFTA. Will assist implementation agency and benefit all stake holders.
Mumbai will become clean. Awakened citizens is need of the hour supported by politicians from ruling and opposition parties.