The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) anti-encroachment drive has been hampered by an abbreviated police force consisting of only 38 officers, as opposed to the sanctioned number of 158. On September 1, 2014, the state government approved 158 vacancies of policemen of various ranks, and despite the passing of nine years, there is a lengthy standing vacancy of 120 posts.
The anti-encroachment section is now dealing with concerns connected to escalating challenges from organised hawkers, who do not hesitate to attack PMC workers on anti-encroachment duty.
According to the anti-encroachment department, an average of 20-22 officers are available on duty on a regular basis, making the anti-encroachment effort a major task for the civic authorities.
Previously, 11 villages were merged with the civic body, and then 23 villages were joined with the civic body, resulting in the PMC becoming one of the largest municipal corporations in terms of area.
The State Home Department, in an order dated September 1, 2014, ordered the establishment of a dedicated branch titled ‘Economic Offences and special cell for Civilians’ with 158 posts created to boost anti-encroachment and other activities undertaken by the civic body that require mandatory police protection.
Reacting to the grim situation, Madhav Jagtap, chief of the Anti-Encroachment Department said, “The government has sanctioned 158 posts, but we have only 38 policemen for various duties, making our anti-encroachment drives difficult and risky due to a lack of adequate police personnel. Many anti-encroachment drives lack police protection, making it impossible to remove unauthorised and illegal structures.”
During the second week of May, the anti-encroachment department officials were roughed up by the hawkers when they tried to remove the street hawkers and their illegal structures from the footpath on Boat Club Road.
In March 2022, the Vishrantwadi police filed an FIR against 22 persons for impeding public officials while discharging their duties. They have been booked under relevant sections including section 353 of the Indian Penal Code. The first violent attack on the PMC staff took place in 2012 when a stone pelting incident took place in the Yerawada area during an anti-encroachment drive.
The mob had injured anti-encroachment department officials including its current serving chief Jagtap, additional municipal commissioner Rajendra Jagtap, and other staff during the early morning drive.
To ensure that citizens do not face any inconvenience due to illegal construction.
To declare ‘Hawking Zones’ and ‘Non-Hawking Zones’ & rehabilitate the hawkers from ‘Non-Hawking Zones’ to ‘Hawking Zones’.
To make Pune free from traffic congestion caused by unauthorised hawkers.
To remove illegal encroachment and unauthorised hawkers on footpaths and roads.
To keep areas like hospitals, railway stations, schools, religious places, government offices and silent zones free from unauthorised hawkers