The municipality is considering sending a notice to the management of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) for an alleged violation of its lease agreement with the civic body.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials claimed the agreement says RWITC cannot put the land to commercial use, and that it needs the BMC’s permission to charge any additional fees. This refers to RWITC charging an entry fee on non-members who enter Gallops, a restaurant within the club’s premises.
“RWITC did not ask us for permission before charging the fee, which is a breach of agreement,” said Assistant Municipal Commissioner (estate department), Vasant Prabhu. An RWITC circular dated December 23 says non-members must pay an entry fee to visit Gallops — Rs 60 from Monday to Thursday, and Rs 125 from Friday to Saturday.
Vivek Jain, president, RWITC, said: “There is no such restriction in the lease. The restaurant is for members only, and a guest levy, to our knowledge, is permissible. We can only say more on the issue when we hear from the BMC.”
“It appears to be a violation, but we will study the matter and if irregularities are found, a notice will be sent,” Prabhu said. The RWITC has sub-let a portion of the racecourse – now the Gallops restaurant without BMC permission for 10 years.
RWITC’s BMC lease expires in 2013 — its agreement with Gallops is up to 2018. Civic sources said an eviction notice to the club, pushed for by former municipal commissioner Jairaj Pathak, has been stayed by senior civic officials.
The BJR group, which runs Gallops restaurant, will file a contempt plea against RWITC.