BMC blames Marine Drive open air gym row on technical fault

Updated on Jul 21, 2015 09:08 PM IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now blaming a ‘technical’ fault for the controversy over the denial of permission and later the dismantling of an open air gym on Marine Drive promenade.

Open-air gym at Marine Drive. (HT photo)
Open-air gym at Marine Drive. (HT photo)
Hindustan Times | ByLaxman Singh, Mumbai

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now blaming a ‘technical’ fault for the controversy over the denial of permission and later the dismantling of an open air gym on Marine Drive promenade.

An inquiry has found that civic chief Ajoy Mehta had given permission for open air gyms at two places on the Marine Drive promenade, but the permission letter was not sent to the C-ward office, which led to the controversy, sources said.

This also means the controversial gym opposite Grant Medical College will now be given formal permission and no action is likely against ward officer Sangita Hasnale who had ordered the removal of the gym.

The dismantling of the gym as well as tremendous pressure mounted by the ruling Shiv Sena on the civic chief to restore the same had kicked up a controversy. The Sena was also at the receiving end for targeting Hasnale, who was doing her duty.

The inquiry ordered by Mehta was conducted by additional municipal commissioner Pallavi Darade.

Promoted by Aaditya Thackeray and actor Dino Morea’s DM Fitness, the two open air gyms installed at Marine Drive promenade – one at the Nariman Point end and the other one opposite Grant Medical College – come under the jurisdiction of A-ward and C-ward respectively.

The probe revealed that the permission letter from Mehta was sent to the A ward office, but was somehow not sent to the C ward office, sources said.

To rectify the ‘fault’, the commissioner’s office will now send a copy of the permission letter to the C-ward office too.

This means DM Fitness Centre need not to go the C-ward office to take separate permission.

Inquiry report also pointed out that the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has already given its nod to both gyms to be put up on the Marine Drive promenade, which is a heritage precinct.

Congress MLA Nitesh Rane has now threatened to put up a vada pav stall next to the gym in protest of the permission given to the same.

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