The State Government had given the Hiranandani’s the land to build houses for the poor in the 1980’s. Economic Liberalisation happened in 1991. The biggest beneficiary of the liberalisation were the Indian Middle class. As the middle class were getting richer, their aspiration for a good lifestyle and luxury increased.

Businesses saw the opportunity and started to see how they could leverage the new affluent class. Hiranandani Brothers seized the opportunity and are now are among the country’s wealthiest.
The earliest people who moved in, got houses at throwaway prices. The next batch of people were sold dreams of a quiet retiring place with hills and lakes. The third batch came in because of the European architecture and status symbol attached to it.

Hills were quarried and replaced by huge corporate buildings. Call centres were the first to make their offices in the outsourcing boom. Then the corporates Crisil, Wipro, Deolite, TCS all set up big office here. The Corporates got people coming to Powai for work.

The huge floating population created demand for cheap food. Not everyone could afford to eat everyday at the plush restaurants like Spaghetti Kitchen or Yellow Chilli. The need for cheap and efficient grub was necessary. Transport facilities improved. Hiranandani got a bus depot. Now there are buses going to Vikhroli and Ghatkopar stations.

The cheap takeaway places at Galleria and and the the hawkers near Powai Plaza do brisk business everyday. Jewel at Eden has been a eye sore for long.

So there is a good deal of opportunity for hawkers to make money.

Residents Issue

The residents think the hawkers would dirty their neighbour hood. Those beautiful big footpaths will be used to wash utensil and store items. It is an ugly visual.
I completely agree with the residents. Hiranandani complex was not designed to have hawkers. The entire design is classy. If hawkers set shop the place would lose all its charm.

Are the residents anti-poor or elitist?

I read in a news article that the residents are being elitist. We all know, how the hawkers get licence. A owner will have an owner who has an ultimate owner. Ultimate owner of a hawking stall in some rich guy. So saying NO to hawkers is not a elitist stand.

Are the residents denying employment to thousands?

There are many ways to generate employment. Hawking is one of them. Hawkers would do much better where there is natural footfalls.

BMC’s High-handedness

BMC should give the residents a feasibility study on why they want to put hawkers in Hiranandani. Right now it is plain ludicrous, as the figure says more than 1900 hawker spaces is up for allocation.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash