It’s a carnival out there. Fergusson College Road is set thick with hawkers on either side. Whether its fashion accessories, trendy clothing, cosmetics or a variety of street snacks, these hawkers have them all. City crowds make merry late into the night on weekends in this veritable ‘fashion street’. But the beautiful peacock at night turns into an ugly duckling in the morning, strewn with the sordid remains of revelry.
Citizens from the area have been pursuing the issue of growing litter on the road, especially during the weekends, with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for two long years now. Finally, on Sunday, they submitted a written complaint to the civic body, urging it to take suitable measures to stop this littering, which is causing plastic pollution as well. Sumita Kale, a member of the citizens group, Deccan Gymkhana and Fergusson College Road Parisar Samittee (DGPS), which has written to PMC, elaborated, “The garbage situation on Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings is absolutely dismal. There is a lot of litter, with plastic and half-eaten food strewn all over the footpath. The PMC should urgently find a solution to this problem.”
It’s mostly the young crowd that frequents FC Road, lured by the food, clothes and accessories on offer. Food stalls also multiply during the weekends, which generates a lot of trash. The litter consists mostly of plastic bags from packing material, foil plates and plastic glasses. “Sweeping is not a solution. The sweepers have to work doubly hard to clean the streets on the weekends, when the litter is more. The ones who treat the roads as garbage dumps should be made accountable instead,” Kale added.
“It’s the PMC’s responsibility to see that the streets are kept free of litter. Ideally, hawkers should not be sitting on the footpaths, except for those who have been given permission. Those sitting there legally should also take the onus of cleaning up. The PMC should create a nuisance detection squad to identify the problem areas. Citizens should bring any case of littering to the PMC’s notice as well,” said Satish Khot, president of the National Society for Clean Cities.
When contacted, PMC’s assistant commissioner for the Ghole Road ward, Madhav Jagtap, said they are already in the process of getting the problem solved. “If hawkers are seen sitting on these footpaths, we will take action. Some of them have taken permission, while others are hawking there illegally. The legal hawkers will be shifted to a designated part of the parking space. Litter bins will also be kept to collect the trash and will be mandatory for hawkers. We will also allot ragpickers to clean the streets,” he assured.