After comedian Kapil Sharma faced the heat over illegal alterations made to his Andheri bungalow, there are indications that another 100-odd bungalow owners in the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) layout in the area may also find themselves in the firing line.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now plans to carry out a survey of all the 100-odd bungalows at Sardar Vallabhai Patel Nagar in Andheri (West), to check if owners have used a residential zone to carry out commercial activities.
The decision to undertake an inspection stems from complaints by activists in the area, who said many of the bungalows are being used for commercial activities and it is not just Sharma, who is in the wrong.
Civic officials told HT an inspection drive will be carried out to identify illegalities, after which a notice of change of user will be issued to various owners/occupiers if they are found to be commercially exploiting a residential bungalow.
“This is a huge task because there are more than 100 such bungalows that will have to be surveyed. We will take up those where complaints have already been registered with us and the remaining will be inspected in phases,” said a senior civic official.
Nikhitesh Chaubal, general secretary of Jagrut Mumbaikar, a citizen group that sent the civic body several complaints said, “There are various dubbing studios, production houses and other commercial establishments in this area, which have been brought to the civic body’s notice.’’
“A residential area cannot be used for commercial purposes and thus the BMC should slam a change of user notice to these bungalow owners and not just Sharma,’’ he said.
Ashoke Pandit, activist of K west ward, agreed. “There are a lot of irregularities that have taken place in that area and we have been following it for the past two years. The BMC should seriously look at it and take immediate action.”
Some of the complaints against these bungalows include the illegal change of user, unauthorised alterations such as occupying open spaces that were to be kept free of any construction, vertical expansion of a bungalow from the permissible ground-plus-one storey to a ground-plus-two-storey property.
Parag Masurkar, BMC K West ward’s assistant municipal commissioner, said, “It is true there are a few other bungalows that have undertaken illegal construction and also carry out commercial activities. Action will have to be taken against such illegal activities after carrying out due inspection.”
After carrying out the inspection, the BMC will check the illegalities with Mhada. All commercial activities allowed as per the development control regulations 1991 will be spared and the rest will have to be demolished by the BMC.
On Friday, Sharma had tweeted that civic officials had demanded a Rs-5 lakh bribe from him for permission to build an office. This evoked a response from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who directed the civic body to take action against the corrupt officials. By Friday afternoon, Sharma had landed himself in a soup for carrying out illegal alterations to his Andheri bungalow. He is in trouble with the civic body for making alterations to his Andheri bungalow as well as his flat in Goregaon.