The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has stated that it will not allow the controversial Sara-Sahara shopping complexes, gutted in Saturday's fire, to be rebuilt.
“Sara-Sahara were illegal structures and as far as we are concerned, we will not allow them to be developed again,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani. He added that the civic body would not even be a nodal agency for the development of the plot. “The plot belongs to the central public works department (CPWD) and hence, we will just hand it over to them.”
Another civic official, not wanting to be named, said, “Since the land on which those two complexes stood is owned by the central government, the civic body doesn't have any jurisdiction in permitting construction there.”
Meanwhile, with questions being raised on the fate of the adjoining Manish Market, Adtani said that the damage to the structure would be assessed before making any decision. “We are conducting a thorough structural stability of the building, which will tell us whether the structure needs to be pulled down and reconstructed, or it could do with mere repairs. This report is expected within the next 3-4 days,” he said.
The Nutan Pushpak Co-operative Society, Manish market's governing society has, however, rejected suggestions of redeveloping the market. Claiming that the structure was stable, Haroon Merchant, secretary of the society, said, “We want to repair the building and get back to business. After having lost so much in the fire, we cannot afford to sit back and wait for another three years for the building to be rebuilt.” Merchant added that the society would be approaching the BMC for permission for repairs. “The structure is safe… we are categorically ruling out any redevelopment,” he said.
The two complexes have had a controversial history punctuate with several lawsuits.
The city civil court, in May, finally asked the tenants to vacate the plot.