Mumbai: BMC refuses to grant permission to Worli Koli festival

The Koli community insists on going ahead with the festival even if they don’t get it

Some sad news for foodies and culture aficionados. The Koli cultural and food festival, Worli Sagari Koli Mahotsav, that began at Worli last year, may not be held this year. However, the Koli community is firm on holding the festival, and say they will go ahead without permission.

Over 30 stalls selling different types of Koli food were planned for the festival. Pic for representation
Over 30 stalls selling different types of Koli food were planned for the festival. Pic for representation

President of Worli Sagari Koli Mahotsav Samiti, Abhijit Patil said, “Last year the BMC had granted permission without any objection. Now they are denying permission. This festival is a platform to give a chance to one of Mumbai's oldest communities to showcase their culture and food. If Kolis will not be allowed to do this, it’s clearly injustice to them.

When the festival was organised last year, we had taken care of everything including making arrangements for public convenience and cleaning garbage. If the authorities don’t allow us to hold the festival, we will hold it without permission.” Shiv Sena corporator Kishori Pednekar raised the issue in a meeting of the BMC’s standing committee, however, officials said they will look into the matter, then decide what to do about the event.

Pednekar said, “The festival is for people to know about Koli culture and food. The BMC is denying permission and also not giving any strong reason for this. The civic body has given permission to another festival at the Worli sea face before, but why are they refusing it to this festival?” The Worli Mahotsav was held at the sea face early this year.

This year the Koli festival was planned from October 31 to November 2. Over 30 stalls selling different types of Koli food, and Koli dances were planned. In 2013, there were 35 food stalls and over a thousand people from the Koli community had participated in the programme. This time Kolis from Worli, Mahim, Versova, Colaba, Sewri, Mahul and Madh would have participated.

BMC speak
A senior BMC official, however said that the BMC has still not taken a decision. “We have not yet denied permission for the festival. The file is under process and after checking all the necessary things we will decide on permission,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Zone II) Anand Wagaralkar.

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