Pimpri: A syndicate of head loaders functioning as a Mathadi union has been operating in the newly developed areas of Wakad, Pimple Saudgar, Pimple Gurav and Rahatani. These groups are harassing citizens at the time of shifting to other locations. They are targeting posh housing societies and force people to hire their services and charge exorbitantly.
One such case was reported when these head loaders harassed relatives of a police officer attached to the Wakad police station. Two people were booked by the police for extortion but this is not an isolated case. These elements are operating freely in the area for a long time now. Since they have political support, no one dares to complain about their activities.
Since the areas are newly developed, people from other cities have settled down in the areas. Many people are living on rent. Since the rent agreement is only for 11 months, they need to shift their household goods to another house. A resident of Pimple Saudagar, who did not want to disclose her name, informed, “These people are operating in nexus with watchmen of housing societies. Whenever a vehicle carrying household items enters the premises of a society, they come to know about the vehicle and reach the spot. These people, who have political support, claim that they are Mathadi leaders and force owners to hire their services and extort money from them. They demand money even if the loading and unloading work is given to packers and movers companies. They claim that they have rights to do such works in the area. They are charge anything above Rs 4,000 and the amount varies.”
Many times, they enter into confrontation with staffers of the movers and packers company. They threaten owners and demand charges, even if the work is done by the packers and movers company. They force people to hire a vehicle from the area, along with head loaders. In most of the cases, since owners are outsiders and new to the area, they succumb to pressure and pay the desired amount and get rid of them.
In one of these cases, household items belonged to a relative of a police officer, who was shifted to the Woods Society in Kalewadi. As the vehicle entered the society premises, a group of four people arrived in a car and started arguing with the driver of the vehicle. They were claiming they belonged to the Mathadi union and had rights of loading-unloading in the area.
When they came to know that the owner was a kin of a police officer, they tried to flee from the spot. But they were caught by the police after a chase.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of police, zone-III, Ganesh Shinde said, “If people come across such gangs of people claiming to be members of a Mathadi union, then people must approach the nearest police station or contact the police control room.”
Pimple Saudagar corporator Shatrughna Kate said, “Some people are trying to exploit people taking undue advantage of local surnames. There is no role of a Mathadi union in residential areas. If anyone claims that they are members of a Mathadi union and threatening residence, then they must approach the police immediately.”