MUSSOORIE, June 2
The anti-encroachment drive carried out early morning at 5.00 am, on Saturday, by the Municipal Board of Mussoorie now under an administrator, has evoked mix response in Mussoorie.
Most of the residents were happy at the drive carried out by the Municipal Council against the encroachers on Mall road and appreciated the step taken by SDM Meenakshi Patwal but many termed it being biased and alleged that the administration was targeting only the poor.
The Municipal Board Mussoorie team led by M.L. Shah Executive Officer carried out an anti-encroachment drive early morning at around 5.00 am and picked up the goods and the stalls of the street vendors and deposited at Municipal Board store room. The Street vendors when arrived at the spot around 9.00 am were shocked to see that their stalls and the goods kept in it were missing. On enquiring, they were informed that the Municipal council has confiscated their goods during an anti- encroachment drive conducted early morning at Mall road.
The street vendors later gathered at Municipal Board office and raised slogans against SDM Mussoorie and cornered the Executive Officer demanding the return of the goods and the stalls that were confiscated early morning on Saturday.
On the other hand most of the residents are happy that finally some action has been taken against the street vendors that have mushroomed on the Mall road and are selling unhygienic food to the tourists allegedly.
The Mussoorie trader’s association president Rajat Agarwal welcomed the step and said that the number of the street vendors mostly from outside the town had mushroomed over past few months and The Municipal board has taken a bold and positive step to curb this menace.
R.N. Mathur president of Mussoorie Hotel Association said that the presence of hawkers on Mall road become a nuisance for the tourist who do not have enough space to walk even. He said that in every tourist station has dedicated Street vendors zone away from Mall road leaving it free of tourist movement and the step taken by the administration to stop them from occupying the Mall road was step in right direction.
When contacted EO Municipal Board M.L. Shah said that considering the tourist season the anti-encroachment drive is being carried out in Mussoorie and any sort of encroachment will not be tolerated at any cost and if any person is found floating the law then legal action will be taken against such person.
The street vendor Saroj said that she is earning her livelihood by running a small shop on Mall road but as they were poor the Municipal board was targeting them and the rich who have encroached the public property and are sitting over it gleefully. She said that the law should be one for either rich or poor. Another street vendor Om Prakash alleged that the Municipal board was acting in a biased manner and was harassing only the poor in the name of anti-encroachment drive.
However, some hawkers returned on the mall after the Municipal board officials left Mall road at night much to the disgust of most of the residence of the town.
The exercise to create a separate vending zone is going on from past several years bit no action has been initiated so far and many believe till that time this hide and seek game between the Hawkers and the authorities will go on regular basis.