statesman news service
DIAMOND HARBOUR, 18 JUNE: Hawker eviction drive has suddenly been stopped at Diamond Harbour town. These hawkers sell different kinds of fruits on the footpath near Diamond Harbour station beside National Highway-117.
The residents of Diamond Harbour Municipality are waiting for 2 July ~ the day of the panchayat elections, as they are sure that hawker eviction will start soon after that, making it easier for them to walk through that footpath.
The footpath now is very congested as hawkers, mainly from rural belts around Diamond Harbour, not only sell fruits there but also keep their wicker-baskets. People in a hurry to board trains at the station are the ones to suffer.
Mr. Arun Das, a resident of the municipal area, said, "The hawkers from the rural areas are the main voters in the rural polls and not the residents of Diamond Harbour town, who will cast votes in the municipal elections after two months. So the footpath is now for the hawkers and at the end
of the rural polls, the administration will become generous to the people of Diamond Harbour and evict hawkers to satisfy us."
The chairman of the municipality, Mr. Pannalal Halder, when asked regarding the allegation said, “There is no conspiracy in the matter. We will send a letter to the administration to start further eviction drive after the panchayat elections.”
Incidentally, a meeting was held by sub-divisional officer of Diamond Harbour on 14 April where the representatives of all parties were present and it was decided that the footpath would be freed of hawkers for convenience of the pedestrians. The eviction was even started and the hawkers occupying the footpath had been cautioned through microphone for some days. But It was observed that soon after the declaration of panchayat elections dates the eviction was stopped along with the announcement against the hawkers.
Mr Koushik Bhattacharya, the SDO of Diamond Harbour, said, “We have to stop the eviction now because of our
preoccupation with the election process and will start further eviction soon after
the first phase of the panchayat elections gets over. "