Brisk business at pedestrians' cost

Brisk business at pedestrians' cost

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Brisk business at pedestrians' cost

Hawkers near the Indiranagar Metro Station are having a field day. They have turned the entire stretch from the station to the next junction into a mini-market place, blocking the sidewalk in the process. 

They sell small trinkets like hairpins as well as clothes. Their business, which is pretty steady throughout the day, increases dramatically in the evenings.
Magesh, a hawker who sells household items, has been doing brisk business here for almost two years. 

He points out that many young professionals live in and around the area and hence, his small shop on the pavement is doing well. 

On being told that he has illegally encroached on the pavement, he blatantly denies it and replies that everyone is doing the same. 

“I have been selling household items on this pavement for close to two years now and I have never been asked to vacate this place. It is my bread and butter and I will not leave unless everyone does,” he says.

Magesh is not the only hawker who sets up his shop here — by 3 pm, the pavement is buzzing with hawkers selling clothes, fancy hair clips, momos, coconut water, junk jewellery and key rings. 

In fact, close to 15 hawkers have made this stretch of pavement their second home. To make matters worse for pedestrians, the pavement is further crowded by the extension of a popular eatery. The eatery has set up a makeshift snack joint right outside its shop. K R Niranjan, special commissioner of the BBMP, says that he is not aware of the encroachment on the pavement. 

“These are unauthorised hawkers and according to the Supreme Court guideline, until an area has been demarcated as a hawking zone, no hawker can encroach on that place and disturb public movement. Generally, when we find unauthorised hawkers in an area, we conduct a drive and evict them. In this case, the commissioner of the East zone will have to do the same and evict these hawkers,” he informs. 

Many professionals and students, who wait for buses in this area, complain that they have hardly any space thanks to the hawkers. 

“By afternoon, the entire stretch is populated with hawkers and their customers. There’s no place on the pavement so we have to wait on the street for buses,” says Shwetha, a professional. Others, who use the Metro on a regular basis, say that things become worse in the evening and on weekends.  “At these times, the entire stretch is filled with people. Families who want to ride on the Metro often stop outside the station to buy items from these hawkers. They take up nearly half the pavement and it’s tough to navigate your way around them,” concludes Nithya, a student.

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