The platform on a footpath in Matunga that was allegedly built illegally
A prominent activist from Matunga has alleged that BJP workers abused and threatened him for raising his voice against illegal construction in the area. Citizen activist Nikhil Desai has accused local party workers of constructing a platform to instal a flagpole on the footpath next to Koolar & Company restaurant near Maheshwari Udyan without permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
BJP workers for flag-hoisting, which was done by BJP corporator Nehal Shah on Tuesday
Desai has alleged supporters of BJP corporator from Matunga Nehal Shah built the illegal platform for the flag-hoisting ceremony for Independence Day. Ironically, the BMC itself had demolished the illegal platform before I-Day.
Back and forth
Speaking to mid-day, Desai said, "Last Saturday, I saw the structure on the footpath and complained about it to the local ward office. Civic officials took action immediately. On Sunday, it was reconstructed. Again on Monday, I complained and ward officials came and took it down. But on Monday night, it was built again."
"Then, on Monday evening, some BJP workers called me and started shouting abuses. They threatened me against complaining again, warning me that if I did, they would take out a morcha outside my house," he added.
After all this, Desai said, on Tuesday, Shah and some supporters did the flag-hoisting at the same spot. Hence, on Friday, he again filed a written complaint in the ward office and also lodged a verbal complaint in Matunga police station.
When contacted, Shah said, "I don't know who threatened Desai. How is he sure that they were BJP workers? Tomorrow, anyone can call and claim he is from BJP; there has to be some proof. This is absolutely false. If someone was threatening him in the name of BJP, then he should have called me."
"I had given a letter to the ward office to construct a platform on the footpath. But there was no response. There is a lot of illegal construction going on in this ward, but the civic body is not taking any action. In the last six months, I have written several letters, asking that action be taken against all illegal structures, but there has been no progress," Shah added.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner of F-north ward, Keshav Ubale, said, "We did not give any permission for the construction (of the platform). As the construction was illegal, we had demolished it twice. There is a BMC circular as well as a court order not to allow any structures on footpaths."
A senior civic official said the structure would now be demolished on Saturday morning.
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