Tussle over open gym continues, Nitesh Rane claims HC has ordered probe into controversy

Controversy surrounding the open air gym at the Marine Drive promenade inaugurated in July by Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray refuses to die down, with the row taking a new twist on Thursday.

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Swabhiman Sangathana leader Nitesh Rane has claimed that the Bombay High Court has directed the BMC to form a 3-member committee to probe the controversy surrounding the open-air gym installed on Marine Drive.

Aaditya Thackeray along with Jacqueline Fernandes and Dino Morea at the inauguration of the open-air gym opposite Kapoor mansion on Marine Drive. Pic/PTI
Aaditya Thackeray along with Jacqueline Fernandes and Dino Morea at the inauguration of the open-air gym opposite Kapoor mansion on Marine Drive. Pic/PTI

"Today, the HC directed the BMC to form a committee comprising of the Municipal Commissioner, Police Commissioner and Heritage Committee Commissioner to probe the matter. After all, when the BMC had denied permission to Milind Deora for a similar thing three years ago, how can they allow it this time? What has changed in the past 3 years? Even the local people are against this move. It is a moral victory for us," Rane, who had opposed the gym, said.

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The committee is supposed to submit its findings to the HC by August 15.

Swabhiman Sangathana, an NGO, had opened a vada-pav stall near the fitness station.

Rane had reportedly threatened to put up this stall next to the gym in protest against the permission given to it.

The food stall, which opened on July 22 morning, started serving vada-pavs and kombadi-vade, a non-veg delicacy from the Konkan region of Maharashtra and a number of customers were seen buying the eatables throughout the day.

The sign-board on the handcart that sells the food items, reads 'Swabhiman Vada ani Kombdi Vade' and also carries a line, which calls it an initiative solely for the Marathi people.

The open air fitness station installed by actor Dino Morea on the Marine Drive last Wednesday, was inaugurated by Aaditya Thackeray and actor Jacqueline Fernandes.

However, the next day Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers had reportedly dismantled it saying it was illegal. But, they put it back together on learning that permissions were in order.

Rane had jumped into the controversy stating that his NGO would start a vada-pav stall near the gym.

Mumbai NCP had also said it would set up self-help group stalls on the famed promenade if the gymnasium was not removed.

Congress had alleged although it had sought permission for the installation of a similar fitness station in 2013, the then municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte had denied it stating that no temporary or permanent structure could be erected on the promenade.

Despite repeated attempts, Swabhiman Sanghatana office-bearers as well as BMC officials could not be contacted over the development.

(With PTI inputs) 

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