21 film studios in Madh-Marve under BMC scanner

Published on Sep 27, 2022 12:02 AM IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now trained its eyes on 21 studios in Malad’s Madh-Marve region – five of them were functioning illegally, beyond the validity period

Bhatia Island Studio at Madh Island (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Bhatia Island Studio at Madh Island (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
ByLinah Baliga

Mumbai The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now trained its eyes on 21 studios in Malad’s Madh-Marve region – five of them were functioning illegally, beyond the validity period.

“We inspected 21 such sites. Five studios were legal, with permission from the corporation. They were allowed to operate for a period of six months with an NOC from the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ); but the studios were in breach of the agreement. Civic officials did not take action against the studios that were operating without requisite permission, which is illegal,” said a civic official on condition of anonymity.

The official also said that many of the remaining 16 studios were in bungalow premises – popular with production houses for a couple of decades.

HT has also learnt that the civic body had issued permissions to these studios based on its building proposal department’s circular on ‘Ease of Doing Business.’

“We are now examining the legality of the circular vis-a-vis the permissions granted and also taking into account the CRZ factor,” said the civic official.

The probe was conducted after municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had ordered an inquiry into the alleged legality of 49 film studios at Madh, Marve, Erangal, Bhati and Malad, that came up between 2021 and 2022 in the No-Development Zone (NDZ) and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). The inquiry was ordered after complaints were received by the administration that the studios were built without proper permissions but with the help of BMC and Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) officials.

In a written order, Chahal had appointed deputy municipal commissioner Harshad Kale as the inquiry officer to look into the alleged illegalities and also find out the role of specific civic officials who had granted permissions to these studios. Kale is also directed to see further proposed actions to be taken by BMC and other suggestive measures to prevent such wrong-doings.

Following Chahal’s order, HT had reported on September 14 that two temporary structures of Millionaire City Studio and Expressions Studio were razed by the BMC as they had failed to produce CRZ permissions. The Mumbai suburban collector on September 7 had directed Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of P (North) ward to initiate action and raze those structures.

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