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Kolkata police and KMC conduct joint drive in Gariahat to remove plastic sheets

KMC allowed construction of sheds on stalls to replace plastic sheets

Subhajoy Roy | Published 13.12.23, 05:37 AM
Representational image

Representational image

File picture

Police and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Tuesday conducted a joint drive in Gariahat and removed plastic sheets hanging over hawkers’ stalls.

However, hawkers in many other parts of the city continued using plastic sheets in their stalls, in violation of rules framed by the state government.


On Tuesday, The Telegraph found plastic sheets on stalls set up by hawkers on pavements along Esplanade Row and in Hatibagan.

Last week, mayor Firhad Hakim had wondered why the police were not taking action against hawkers in Gariahat who were flouting rules.

“The hawkers in Gariahat have again started using plastic. I could understand the reason for using plastic sheets during the monsoon — those are needed to protect the ware. But this is not the season of rain. They are still using plastic. The plastic sheets must be removed,” Hakim had told a news conference on Saturday.

The KMC allowed the construction of sheds on the stalls to replace plastic sheets. The construction of the sheds started in January.

In many places, sheds that were supposed to only cover the stalls extended across the footpath and met the awnings of the stores on the other side of the pavements, blocking off air and natural light.

The mayor said the police cannot remain “silent spectators” while hawkers kept flouting the rules.

Tuesday’s drive in Gariahat was conducted jointly by the local police station and the KMC. “We removed some plastic sheets. Additional constructions in the stalls were also removed,” said an officer at Gariahat police station.

“Residents can lodge complaints with us if they see hawkers flouting rules.”

A hawker leader in Gariahat said they, too, conducted a raid and removed plastic sheets from stalls. “We have told hawkers that they cannot extend the overhead shed beyond what has been allowed by the KMC,” said Debraj Ghosh, a hawker union leader in Gariahat.

Despite the raids, hawkers in Gariahat are still flouting many rules.

On a stretch of the eastern pavement near Anandamela, there were hawkers on both sides of the sidewalk. The presence of stalls on both sides of the same stretch of the pavements shrunk the space for pedestrians.

Hawking rules framed by the state government say stalls can be set up on one-third width of a pavement, leaving the two-thirds space free for pedestrians.

At the crossing of Gariahat Road and Hindustan Road, stalls selling crockery had encroached on the road. On some stretches, the wares or containers were kept on the roads.

Hawking rules state that stalls cannot be set up on roads and no portion of a stall can encroach on a road.

On a stretch of the western pavement — between Gariahat and Golpark — some hawkers have built sheds beyond the size of the stalls. The sheds span across the entire width of the pavement and touch the awnings of the stores on the other side.

Debashis Kumar, mayoral council member in charge of parks and squares at the KMC, told The Telegraph that the civic body would demolish those structures. “Anything beyond what the KMC has allowed should not be there. We will, if required, demolish the extensions,” he said.

When asked whether he felt the action to remove plastic sheets in Gariahat should be replicated in other places, too, Kumar said: “We will undertake the drive at one place after another. Let us fix one place first.”

Last updated on 13.12.23, 05:38 AM

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