Hours after mid-day's report on how a shop owner had taken over the sole car lift at a mall and converted it into a garments shop, the shop was demolished yesterday
Hours after the mid-day report on the sole car lift at Kenilworth mall in Bandra being converted into a garments shop, BMC officials, who had been dragging their feet on the issue, razed the illegal structure yesterday and paved the way for shop owners to park their cars in the mall’s basement again.
mid-day had reported yesterday ('Shop comes up in car lift on busy Bandra road') how Sultan Mansuri, a well-connected shop owner, had taken over the sole car lift at the mall, depriving other shop owners of the use of parking spots they had bought in the basement at a cost of nearly Rs 5 lakh each. Parking space for 24 cars was lying unused on the jam-packed Linking Road, and shop owners were being forced to park their cars on the road, from where they were often towed.
mid-day’s report yesterday
After the report in this newspaper, there was lot of pressure on the BMC to act and over 100 shop owners added to it by protesting at the civic body’s office on Hill Road, Bandra West. BMC officials refused to take action initially, as they had been doing for nearly two months, but two hours into the protest, they gave in. A team of demolition workers was dispatched to the mall, with Khar police officials providing them protection.
Six people, who were working in the garments shop, refused to come out and the police had to force them to do so. Once the centrally air-conditioned shop was vacated, the glass doors were demolished, garments were thrown out, flooring, lights and furniture were dismantled and the structure was restored to its original condition for its intended use — as a lift to transport cars to and from the basement parking.
Activist Nicholas Almeida said, “It was only after mid-day’s article that the illegal shop was razed. I registered so many complaints, but no action was taken. I thank mid-day for the same.”
Zakhir Khan, who owns a shop at the mall, said, “We are all very thankful to mid-day, which highlighted the issue and led to the illegal shop being razed.”
Another shop owner, Avinash Sonavne, said, “We can finally park our cars in the basement, in the spots we have paid so much money for. We were forced to park on the road, where they were at risk of being damaged and towed. We are extremely happy at having got our parking space back.”
The shop owners are now planning to file a police complaint against Mansuri.
Sultan Mansuri allegedly began taking over the car lift a year ago, after appointing himself the secretary of a society he had formed at the mall. He initially used the car lift as a society office and then, two months ago, a board reading ‘Fashion Zone - Western outfits’ was put up over it. Then, approximately ten days ago, a fully furnished, centrally air-conditioned shop came up in the lift.