While the BJP, on Saturday, started demolishing illegal additions made to the party’s state head office in Nariman Point, after missing the Bombay high court’s deadline of September 3, citizens have been asking why no action is being taken against the remaining structures. These structures include Janta Dal office along with other government offices such as MTDC, PWD on a recreational ground (reserved as RG) – Jawaharlal Nehru Garden at Nariman Point.
In 2013, the residents’ association Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Welfare Trust (NPCCWT) filed a plea against encroachment by political parties and government undertakings on an open space. Responding to the PIL, in March 2016, the high court had ruled that within six months the BJP should bring down their office size to permissible area of 1,200 square feet as per Development Control Regulations (DCR) 1991. The court had also instructed the government to consider shifting their offices. Sources from the BMC said that along with the illegal additions, the BJP office had an area of over 3,000 square feet.
Accordingly, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was supposed to issue notices to the other illegal structures. The civic body, however, had also, not followed the high court’s deadline and issued notices to the other illegal structures late last month. The assistant municipal commissioner of A ward Kiran Dighavkar said, “As per the court’s directive, notices were issued to the structures present on the RG plot in the last week of October.”
Commenting on the matter, a senior civic officer said, “While there is no follow up by the government undertakings, the ward office will carry out a detailed status report and submit the earlier and existing plan to the state government. We will also request them to carry out the demolition on their own, wherever violation is observed.”
The residents of the area had been complaining that no action is being taken against the government undertakings present on the plot, despite the high court’s directives of moving the offices from the Garden. Atul Kumar vice-president of NPCCWT said, “We are happy that BJP started demolishing their offices but the government officials should also intervene to move their undertakings. Not shifting out the undertakings after the high court’s orders amounts to contempt of court.”
There are no violations: Janta Dal
Apart from the BJP head office, structures such as Janata Dal office and other government offices such as Maharashtra tourism and development corporation (MTDC) office, a public works department office, employment exchange office among others, have been sent notices by the BMC to demolish the violations. The civic body has also received replies from several agencies. While the MTDC has asked the BMC to communicate with the Tourism ministry, Janata Dal has replied stating that they have not violated any norms, said civic officials.