NMMC’s anti-encroachment department has been stirred into action following high court order that if concerned authority fails to take action against encroachers, it will have to face the music.
So far, within a couple of weeks NMMC, CIDCO and MIDC have jointly demolished thousands of illegally encroached structures and also initiated a drive against illegal hawkers and shopkeepers who encroach on public space outside shops. It has been many years since shopkeepers have been giving the same space on rent to small vendors like pan sellers, travel agents, chat corner etc and earn anything between Rs 5,000 and 10,000 per month in Vashi and other nodes.
While welcoming the drive against encroachers residents point out that it is being done selectively. To cite an example, a resident points out that in Vashi Sector-17, vendors in the vicinity of Navratna Hotel have been targeted but encroachers from Shirsagar Hotel to Jai Jawan building have been allowed to continue.
Residents also point out that encroachments done in the name of beautification and development by the corporation have been overlooked while encroachment by the poor to earn their livelihood are being targeted demolished. They charge that the whole stretch of footpath in the name of beautification by developing a green strip along the Municipal Commissioner bungalow has been encroached in Nerul. A generator has been installed on footpath by NMMC’s Public Health Engineering department at the pump house situated in Sector-5, CBD. Such ‘official’ encroachments compel residents to walk on road risking their lives.