Home COMMUNITY Politically patronised hawking. Whose choice is it anyway?

Politically patronised hawking. Whose choice is it anyway?

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As a proud Bandra resident, I cherish it’s flora and fauna, its old world charm, it’s easy-going relaxed live & let-live attitude, it’s gastronomical options, it’s surburban-ness … with the quiet narrow leafy lanes dotted with pre-independence-colonial-style cottages.

For the true Bandrites, they will all agree, this is fast dissolving into a far-off distant memory, with cottages making way for high rises and landmark locations razed to accommodate shopping malls with practically all arterial roads congested like a heart with a 99% blockage and gasping for breath!

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So we accept, what we cannot change… But then we have the local corporators who “thoughtfully” set-up fair price farmers’ markets to ensure the residents can avail quality produce at competitive rates. Good idea, when it was once a week in different areas. Except now it’s a daily event with each party playing follow the leader. Never mind that, it’s an inconvenience to residents around because of double parked cars, coupled with incessant honking. In fact, over the last few months fewer and fewer residents have been frequenting the stalls owing to the low quality of the products. The MINIMAL price differential compared to the roadside markets too does not justify its presence. Owing to lower overheads, absence of municipal fees and unnamed incidentals, these vendors are actually conducting a prosperous business activity under a protective patronage.

What started out as a well-intentioned initiative for the community is no longer being supported by the community itself. Even after appeals sent by local ALM committee members requesting this service come to an end, the mobile-hawking continues. This is no longer for the people and was certainly never by the people. On Sherly Rajan road itself, there are already three vegetable vendors(at least). For the more discerning buyer there is the entire stretch of Pali market which is a 5-7 minute walk around the corner. These politically motivated vegetable/fruit vendors have permanently staked their claim on the one teeny-tiny stretch of road that is free of hawkers and vendors alike. When asked to move to another spot they simply stand firm saying they’re authorized. My concern is that this little open space which has remained free of hawkers for decades thanks to the watchful gaze of local residents will soon turn into a permanently built hawking spot. This isn’t something we Bandrites should accept.

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