Mumbai: SoBo restaurants get BMC rap for covering open spaces

Salt Water Cafe, Kamling, Shiv Sagar and Chopsticks were issued notices on September 30 for covering the open space before them; demolition to commence within a fortnight

The next time you visit one of these popular restaurants in south Mumbai, there is a possibility that you may not even recognise it.

Besides demolishing illegal constructions, legal action will be initiated against the owners of Salt Water Café, Kamling, Shiv Sagar and Chopsticks. Pics/Tushar Satam
Besides demolishing illegal constructions, legal action will be initiated against the owners of Salt Water Café, Kamling, Shiv Sagar and Chopsticks. Pics/Tushar Satam

It has been learnt that four famous restaurants at Churchgate — Salt Water Cafe, Chopsticks, Kamling and Shiv Sagar — were issued show cause notices by the BMC for covering the front portions of their respective
establishments.

An officer from Ward-A said the notices (copy available with mid-day) were issued on September 30 following a routine survey conducted by the ward officials. He added the notices were issued under Section 351 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.

They read: ‘unauthorised covering of front side compulsory open space between building line and compound wall with A.C sheets over M.S. awning… enclosure of all sides of compulsory open space...’

After issuing the notices, restaurant managements were asked to submit their response. Though the restaurants submitted an undertaking to the BMC, the demolition will happen within a fortnight because the civic body remains unsatisfied with explanation offered.

Moreover, legal action will be initiated against the owners as well. While three of the restaurants submitted their documents, management of the Shiv Sagar restaurant approached the High Court. “As per the HC’s order, which we received just three days ago, we have given Shiv Sagar a month’s time,” said Chandrashekhar Chore, assistant commissioner, Ward-A.

“As for the other three, we are not satisfied with their documents and a final order (for demolition) will be issued in the coming week following which they will be given a week’s time to demolish the illegal construction themselves. If they don’t, then we’ll do it. The cost of demolition will be recovered from the party itself.”

Commenting on the issue, Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Balamwar said though the restaurants have Collector’s permission to utilise the open space, they cannot cover it. “It [covering] has to be demolished,” he said. Even though Chopsticks was shut down a few years ago, it was still issued the notice as it too had covered the open space.

Restaurant speak

RiyaAz Amlani, Salt Water Cafe owner
After the notice, we submitted all the necessary documents. We haven’t received an adverse order yet. If we do, a decision will be taken on it then

Shiv Sagar restaurant manager
Our restaurant was established in the 50s. In the year 2000, the Collector passed an order in our favour and thus we have permission to use this space. I hope the BMC considers this. We have submitted all the necessary documents. Let us wait and watch.

The owner of Kamling refused to comment.

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