A woman corporator was recently stalked by a grain seller after she objected to feed being sold for pigeons on Juhu beach.
Renu Hansraj said residents of societies adjacent to the beach had complained of health issues, caused by bird droppings, after large flocks of pigeons started feeding on grain on the beach. When she took this up with the vendor, he responded with: “Everyone would die the way they were destined to.”

Hansraj later recorded her statement with Juhu police.

“A vendor has been selling bird feed for nearly four hours every morning behind Hotel Ramada Plaza Palm Grove. Morning walkers buy grains from him and feed birds. We have requested him repeatedly to move to another stretch of the beach where there are no housing societies, in vain. Pigeon droppings are harmful and have worsened respiratory ailments of residents living adjacent to the current feeding site,” Hansraj said.

On May 4, she went to the beach around 6am to check on the situation.

“I was told the vendor was making as much as Rs 10,000 a day selling bird feed. One of the morning walkers entered into an argument with the vendor over his site of business. I intervened to broker peace as there were many others out for a walk and I did not want anyone to get disturbed. Around 7.15am, while I was headed home on foot, I noticed the vendor following me on his two-wheeler near Hotel JW Marriott. He said he wanted to speak to me. I asked why he hadn’t spoken to me on the beach in the presence of others. He lied that he sold bird feed on the beach for only half an hour. I told him we had no objection to his business, but only to the location he had chosen,” Hansraj said.

The vendor then tried to intimidate her by dropping names of politicians. At this, Hansraj told him to sell bird feed outside those politicians’ homes.

“I told him there was a five-year-old child suffering from bronchitis and a couple of asthma patients living in the building outside which he was doing business,” she said.

People across the city have time and again voiced concern about the unchecked growth in pigeon populations.

Veterinary microbiologists have linked as many as 60 diseases to pathogens released from pigeon droppings. Lung ailments and skin diseases top the list. Siddhesh Surve, who was formerly associated with Bombay Natural History Society, told TOI people should feed sparrows instead of pigeons.

“Pigeons do not clean their nests, unlike other birds, and their nests carry a lot of insects which can harm humans. Instead, people can buy sparrow feeders and put these up on windows.”


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