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CMC mulls New Market parking shift

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) is planning to remove the parking bay from a stretch beside New Market but not the hawkers who are encroaching on the road.

“We have thought of a plan to prohibit parking on Bertram Street. We have not arrived at any decision but our aim is to bring some order on the roads surrounding New Market,” Debasish Kumar, the mayoral council member in charge of parking, said on Wednesday.

Bertram Street stretches around 300 metres between SN Banerjee Road and Lindsay Street. The civic body is worried about the stretch between Chaplin Park and Lindsay Street, which has a parking bay that can accommodate around 25 cars.

The CMC has mapped the area surrounding New Market, with drawings of where hawkers sit and sell their wares and stretches where cars are parked.

Shop-owners on the roads surrounding New Market have often complained to the civic body that the hawkers who have encroached on the road block entry to their shops. “We are losing customers because of the way hawkers lay out their wares on the road and pavements,” said a shop-owner.

Sources said two recent arrests of hawkers following troubles with pedestrians prompted the civic body to sit up and try some changes.

On May 8, a hawker in the New Market area allegedly slapped a 21-year-old woman on Bertram Street. The woman had confronted the hawker for abusing her younger sister who had accidentally stepped on his bags laid out on the footpath.

A New Market hawker was arrested on Sunday after a key witness in the 2012 Park Street gang rape case accused him of molesting her on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old woman also alleged that when she confronted the man on Saturday night, other hawkers surrounded her and she had to rush to a nearby police kiosk for help.

Officials of the CMC’s market department plan to visit the New Market area next Monday and speak to hawkers as well as shop-owners. “Our aim is to bring some order in the area,” said an official of the CMC’s market department.

“If the parking bay is removed, there will be more disposable space and that will cut down chances of skirmishes and other troubles in the New Market area,” said an official.

A regular shopper in New Market, however, said the CMC should have asked the hawkers to move back rather than restrict car parking on the road.

“Once cars are removed, the hawkers will get more space. It will only benefit the hawkers. Pedestrians will not benefit unless the civic authorities limit the space for hawkers,” said the shopper.

Man killed

A man died and his friend sustained injuries after the two-wheeler they were riding on skidded off the approach to Vidyasagar Setu near Mandirtala around 12.30pm on Wednesday. Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Shakil Ahmed, who was riding pillion, fell on the road. A truck that was coming from behind ran Shakil over. Nawaz is under treatment.

Homemaker injured

A homemaker received minor burns after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a house on the second floor of a five-storey building on Ismail Street in Entally on Wednesday.