BMC razes structure on footpath hours after Powai residents’ protest | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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BMC razes structure on footpath hours after Powai residents’ protest

By, Mumbai
Oct 18, 2023 08:46 AM IST

Residents in the Powai-Chandivali area of Mumbai staged a protest against encroachments on footpaths. After media coverage, the BMC demolished a structure, but residents want all encroachments cleared.

Tired of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) inaction on encroachments on the footpath at Adityavardhan Raheja Vihar Road in the Powai-Chandivali area, residents of a housing society and members of Chandivali Citizens Welfare Association (CCWA) staged a protest on Tuesday.

Mumbai, India - Oct 17, 2023 : Residents of Adityavardhan CHS Ltd, Saki Vihar Chandivali, object to footpath encroachment outsideÊtheirÊbuilding, in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Oct 17, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India - Oct 17, 2023 : Residents of Adityavardhan CHS Ltd, Saki Vihar Chandivali, object to footpath encroachment outsideÊtheirÊbuilding, in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Oct 17, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo)

Hours later and following HT’s request for a comment from BMC’s L ward office, a bulldozer sent by the civic body demolished a structure that came up a few days ago. However, the protesters said BMC should clear out all encroachments in the area.

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Mandeep Singh Makkar, founder member of CCWA, said the encroachments were nothing but a way of grabbing land ahead of the proposed road widening work.

“This is a political business model where footpaths are encroached on, then compensation is claimed, and projects are stalled,” Makkar said. “This is how politicians raise funds for banners and hoardings by snatching people’s amenities.”

Makkar said CCWA in the past had raised the issue of multiple shops coming up on the footpath, but BMC had done nothing. “Why did it act after we took to the streets?”

A resident of Adityavardhan housing society, who participated in the agitation, said, “More than a year ago, a nursery came up on the footpath. Since then, it has been joined by many shops and food joints. Three days ago, a shed was made outside our building further eating into the footpath.”

A few people arrived with a JCB at night, cleared the footpath of debris and made a shed for three shops there, said V M Mohankumar, chairman of the housing society.

“When they started building permanent cement structures, we asked them for a document authorising these. However, they did not show us any proof and instead asked us to come to the local police station. We are now going to the police station and will again present our case there,” Mohankumar said and added that the society had written letters to authorities and had even taken to social media to highlight the issue.

Dhanaji Herlekar, assistant commissioner, L ward, said, “There are many anti-social elements who want to encroach on the land. The structure was built on a road and as soon as we came to know about it, we demolished it.”

In his budget speech, BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal had announced that the civic body would map the footpaths for all major roads with more than nine-metre width and wherever footpath was found to be absent or not in good shape, a concrete footpath with international surface designs would be constructed in a fast-track mode. Chahal had also said that BMC’s roads department had rope in urban road designers for this job. A token provision of 200 crore was made for this work.

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