A day ahead of its scheduled closure today, patrons of Cafe Samovar and even legislators asked the Devendra Fadnavis government to find a way to keep the iconic brand alive, even if that meant relocating the eatery to another part of the city.
CM Devendra Fadnavis has said he will look into the matter. File pic
A delegation comprising BJP leader Shaina NC and the daughters of Samovar founder Usha Khanna theatre personality Devieka Bhojwani and senior journalist Malavika Sangghvi met CM Devendra Fadnavis yesterday. They told him that the cafe could be relocated on the first floor of Jehangir Art Gallery.
Currently, the cafe occupies 700 sq ft on the gallery’s ground floor. For over three decades, the Khanna family-run cafe fought a legal battle with the founding trustees of the art gallery. The cafe was granted an extension of five years in an out-of-court settlement in 2010, which ends today.
“We gave the CM the option of relocating the cafe on the same premises. We also asked him to not let the iconic brand die and run the facility in association with the state tourism department,” Shaina told mid-day after meeting the CM.
Shaina said the delegation would meet the Managing Director of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to present the proposal. “We are of the opinion that the cafe, which was not run as a commercial unit, should be kept alive even if it is relocated (to a place other than Jehangir Art Gallery),” she added.
When mid-day spoke to CM Fadnavis, he said he had not given any concrete assurance because he needed to study the issue first. “But I told them that I would definitely look into the matter,” he said.
In the legislative council, Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt urged the government to save Cafe Samovar. “The cafe represents the city’s cultural heritage. I request you take the initiative to ensure that it is not shut.” Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde told Dutt that he was positive about meeting the demand.
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