Monday, 30th October 2017

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Hawkers step beyond kiosks in Calcutta

'CMC would soon force the hawkers to remove the dallahs and stay within the CMC provided stalls,' an official said

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 21.10.19, 6:04 AM
  • Updated 21.10.19, 6:04 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Stalls on Gariahat footpath leave no space for pedestrians Bishwarup Dutta

Hawkers in Gariahat, who were given stalls by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, are now occupying double the width of the footpath than what they used to do before.

The hawkers have kept their old dallah (wooden tables where they spread out their wares) in front of the 4ft-wide kiosks. A dallah is at least 6ft wide and taken together with the stall, it occupies about 12ft width of a footpath.

At many places, hawkers occupy both sides of the pavement, leaving space for only one person to pass through the narrow passage left free. The CMC had handed over 20 stalls to hawkers whose pavement shops were burnt when a fire broke out in January at the building where Traders Assembly is located.

The stalls were given free of cost and the civic body had asked the hawkers to stay within the kiosks. They were told not to encroach any additional space on the footpath. Besides, a set of rules that the Bengal government had prepared for the hawkers said that they had to keep two-third width of a pavement free for pedestrians. But in Gariahat, especially on the stretch where the CMC provided the stalls, pedestrians have less than one-third of the width for walking.

Mayoral council member Debashis Kumar told Metro on Sunday that the CMC would soon force the hawkers to remove the dallahs and stay within the CMC provided stalls.

“We didn’t do anything before the Puja since it was the festive season. We will not allow them to encroach any space on the footpath beyond the CMC provided stalls,” said Kumar.

A resident of Garia said that police had kept guardrails on the main thoroughfare through which pedestrians pass, leaving the footpath to hawkers.

“I prefer walking on the road as it is impossible to walk on the footpath without jostling with others. I was surprised to see that several unused stalls occupying the thoroughfare,” the resident, who did not want to be named, said. Debraj Ghosh, a hawker union leader at Gariahat, said the hawkers had apprised the CMC about some defects with the stalls.

“The kiosk flaps double up as sheds when the stalls are opened. But when the flaps are opened, a gap is created between the kiosk body and the shed. During the rainy season, water flows in through the gap and damages our products. We have requested the CMC to change it, but they told us they would look into it later,” he said. Ghosh said such defects were forcing hawkers to use dallahs.