Three days after a major portion of the famous Manish market was gutted in a fire, it has emerged that the civic body was preparing to demolish around 70 illegal stalls inside the market on December 2.
The Brihanmumbai Muni-cipal Corporation (BMC) had even approached the Mumbai police seeking protection to demolish the 70-odd structures, it is learnt.
There are around 280 official tenants in Nutan Pushpak Co-operative Society, which manages Manish market.
The civic body and the society have been locked in a legal battle since 2009 over the illegal stalls. The BMC was expecting an order to demolish the stalls in the final hearing to be held on December 2. However, the timing of the fire has meant that it might have to drop any action against the society for now.
A senior civic official, who did not wish to be named, said: “The timing of the fire makes the incident suspect. We were confident that we would be able to proceed with the demolition, after the court had directed us to a final hearing on December 2.”
Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said: “We had spoken to police officials about ensuring tight protection for our demolition operations scheduled on December 2, after the final court order would arrive. We will now have to conduct a fresh inspection of the market to see which of the illegal alterations remain, and accordingly take action when the building approaches us again for permission to repair or reconstruct it.”