Salt Lake hawkers evicted

At least 50-odd hawkers who had returned after being evicted and set up stalls on the footpath and divider in front of the CGO complex in Salt Lake were evicted again on Wednesday.

By Snehal Sengupta
  • Published 8.03.18
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CGO complex: At least 50-odd hawkers who had returned after being evicted and set up stalls on the footpath and divider in front of the CGO complex in Salt Lake were evicted again on Wednesday.

The eviction drive was smooth as a team of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation officials, along with cops, walked up to the hawkers and asked them to leave.

A tea stall owner said the officials asked every shop owner to leave or be prepared to have the stall razed.

"We didn't want to take any chances... we gathered our things and left. I had several customers waiting for tea to be served but I asked them to leave," Subal Mondal, the tea stall owner, said.

A civic official who visited the area described the experience as "very surprising".

"We did not have to do anything. They went away on their own and in record time," the official said.

Mayor Sabyasachi Dutta said the hawkers had been warned several times but they refused to budge.

"Today, we sent a team and they realised we meant business. We want to keep footpaths free of encroachers," Dutta said.

A police officer who had visited the spot said reinforcements were kept on standby anticipating trouble. "But the usual defiance was missing this time."

The civic body had conducted a series of eviction drives in the run-up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the Calcutta Book Fair.

Special teams had been formed to keep an eye on places where hawkers keep returning. The civic body had evicted around 3,000 hawkers from the township in the first eviction drive before the U-17 World Cup.

At least 12 concrete stalls had been demolished and 100-odd hawkers removed from the Karunamoyee bus terminus area before the Book Fair.

The civic body has adopted several measures like planting trees on footpaths and barricading the entire length of footpaths with railings to prevent hawkers from setting up stalls.

(Top) The footpath and divider in front of the CGO complex in Salt Lake after an eviction drive on Wednesday (picture by Mayukh Sengupta); the same spot teeming with hawkers