Clubs located on the city’s public spaces are holding the civic body responsible for not framing guidelines — despite violating the terms on which they were allowed to build these clubs in the first place.
Last week, a city civil court upheld an eviction order served by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Matoshree Arts and Sports Trust at Jogeshwari, and Kamla Vihar Sports Club at Kandivli.
“The clubs have no locus standi to negotiate with the BMC,” said Neera Punj of CitiSpace. The clubs were served eviction notices for violation of their agreement with the BMC, and ordered to pay a penalty.
While the clubs have paid the fine, the court said the fine was not paid in time, and pointed out the violation of the terms of the lease agreement, which say the clubs cannot be used for political purposes.
Club owners are holding the BMC responsible for not framing related policies on time. “I’m ready to hand over the club if the BMC issues proper guidelines,” said Ravindra Waikar, an MLA who runs Matoshree club at Jogeshwari, and is also chairman of the BMC Standing Committee. He added that the agreement had no rule saying the club had to be kept open for the general public.
“We have framed the guidelines and submitted them to the legal department,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikar. “We will challenge the court order because we’ve spent a lot of money on removing encroachments and developing the property,” Waikar said.
S Nair, CEO of Kamala Vihar club, said they will approach the High Court, adding that the club had asked for a full occupation certificate, which they have not got yet as the state’s policy is still being formulated.
Under the BMC’s caretaker policy, 49 public plots can be given to private developers to build clubs, gymkhanas and associations. Since November 2007, Hindustan Times has continually reported instances of these developers building members-only clubs on them, making them off-limits to the general public.