Mumbai building resident sends legal notice to own society over eatery

Resident of SV Road building sends legal notice to his own society, citing inaction against nuisance by Yoko Sizzlers

A resident of a housing society on SV Road, Santacruz, has sent a legal notice to his own society. Jayaram Poduval shot off a notice on July 13 this year after the managing committee of the building he resides in, Santacruz West View Cooperative Housing Society, failed to act against a restaurant on its premises, allegedly operating with irregularities.

The Yoko Sizzlers outlet on the ground floor of Santacruz West View Cooperative Housing Society. Pic/Sameer Markande
The Yoko Sizzlers outlet on the ground floor of Santacruz West View Cooperative Housing Society. Pic/Sameer Markande

The society then sprung into action and informed the BMC and police of the matter. Iconic restaurant Yoko Sizzlers has been functioning for 35 years out of the ground floor of the building that was constructed in 1967. An agreement was signed between the society and restaurant in 1987, wherein the establishment was allowed to operate with certain riders. In return, the owner of the restaurant and property would pay the society R1,000 per month as maintenance.

But, as occupants of the society changed, complaints of nuisance caused by the restaurant rose. According to residents, it has violated several clauses of the original 1987 agreement. These include restrictions against workers loitering inside society premises, climbing the water tank, and making additions or alterations to structures.

“My living room faces the rear end of the restaurant. From here, you can see workers chopping vegetables and changing their clothes. The restaurant had even erected a permanent structure to house their vessels but, after we complained to them, they pulled it down. Some lockers were made to accommodate staff belongings and a water tank were made. All these are illegal. Why doesn’t the society or BMC take action against them?” asked Poduval.

“Although there are two entrances to the society, people end up using just one because the restaurant is on the other. This is quite a problem,” said GA Fatnani, a senior citizen who resides on the first floor. Both Poduval and Fatnani have complained of noise and exhaust fumes bothering them late into the night since the restaurant operates till midnight.

Rajesh Sharma, building chairman, said, “The staffers climb the water tank to turn on the supply. They can look right into our homes. I hope they come to the discussion table with us and resolve matters.”

Sharma claims that the society has written several letters to the restaurant, BMC and local police in the past. At one meeting with a senior police inspector of Santacruz police station, the restaurant agreed to some terms but residents claim things went back to square one.

After Poduval’s notice, Sharma sent him a written reply stating, “We are calling a general board meeting at the earliest to be attended by all society members to try and resolve this matter amicably.” It was only after this that they wrote to BMC and the police, claims Poduval.

The restaurant’s view
Yoko Sizzlers maintains that there is no illegality in their operations. Poduval claims that the society never wrote to Yoko Sizzlers until he legally forced them to do so.

Refuting all allegations, Tanveer Abdi, restaurant manager, said, “We have due permissions from the BMC and the society to construct the water tank. Besides, the lockers are on one side and don’t occupy much space. A tarpaulin that covered our belongings and a cabinet for storage were removed after the society objected.”

Levelling allegations against the society, Abdi said, “They have illegally converted a part of the common toilet area into the society office. Besides, members have tried to block vehicles from entering the premises by placing iron rods. Now, my men have to haul up the grocery and vegetables from the roadside.”

Abdi claims that the society is trying to oust them in order to go into redevelopment. Sunday mid-day tried to contact ward officer Vijay Kamble of H-West ward and officials from the building proposal department, but both were unavailable for comment.

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