Encroachments on footpaths and by the roadside are so common that most of us barely notice them. We have to step around these vendors, be very inconvinienced by them and their customers and yet we choose to ignore them. We do not even hesitate while buying things from these very vendors that cause us so much trouble everyday. Why?
A particularly irritating example is a chaat stall on the canal road connecting Prabhat Road and Law College Road in Pune. The encroached stall along with its customers inconvenience vehicles as well as pedestrians and yet the customer base for this stall just keeps growing. I have complained to the traffic department about this but they gave me some lame excuses and promised to take action in the matter. A few months later nothing has happened. On Agarkar road, these chaat stall encroachments are right beside the house of a state minister. They were cleared recently for a presidential visit and reinstalled the very next day.
Does chaat taste better when the stall is on encroached public land and served in the most unhygienic of conditions? Why can’t we tell these vendors that we disapprove of their encroachment on the footpath? Smile, stay polite and you won’t risk getting beaten up.
The real reason why administration can afford to ignore these matters is that there’s no public outcry. Unfortunately its the same case on most Indian roads and most Indian cities. Unless the common man protests, nothing will change.
It’s not just the corporation’s responsibility to keep the footpath / roads free from illegal vendors and hawkers. It is also our duty to not buy from these vendors. Educate friends and family and ask them to buy only from proper shops and not from encroached and illegal streetside vendors.