Finally, Palike clears encroachments on footpath in Rajajinagar

Finally, Palike clears encroachments on footpath in Rajajinagar

Finally, Palike clears encroachments on footpath in Rajajinagar

 Fourteen years of Geetha Misra’s battle to rid the pavement and a stormwater drain of encroachments near ESI Hospital in Rajajinagar finally bore fruit on Friday when the BBMP demolished many permanent structures and drove away roadside vendors.

In an early morning operation, the Palike officials, along with the sleuths of Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force and the local police, razed around 70 shops which were as old as 20 years.

There were garages, eateries and shops selling flowers, poultry birds, knick-knacks, vegetables and fruits.

High drama unfolded as the shopkeepers refused to leave the place and some of them even threatened to kill themselves over the loss of their livelihood. It took seven hours for the BBMP to clear the encroachments.

The Palike was compelled to act against the encroachment of footpath almost a month after the High Court direction based on a public interest litigation filed by Misra.

“For the last 14 years, I have been petitioning various public representatives and the government officials, especially the BBMP, but to no avail. As a last resort, I knocked on the doors of the High Court in May 2015, which gave directions to the then Administrator T M Vijay Bhaskar to remove the encroachments,” Misra said.

The Palike officials half-heartedly removed the encroachments allowing the shopkeepers to reoccupy the pavement and start their business. This callousness of the BBMP prompted Misra to approach the High Court again.

On April 18, 2016, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath passed a fresh order admonishing the BBMP officials.

The judges noted: “We fail to appreciate the generosity of the BBMP to spend money to construct a new roadside drain after leaving four feet, which is occupied by the hawkers. We, also, fail to appreciate the generosity of the BBMP in permitting the hawkers to do their business by constructing permanent stalls.”

The order read, “Footpaths are meant for movement of pedestrians. It must be clean and free. It is true that the area is a hawker zone. The hawkers may do their business in moving carts, but must leave the place in the evening after cleaning the area.”

It took almost a month for the BBMP to execute the High Court order as some Palike officials were under tremendous pressure and were warned by some local politicians not to act, said Misra.