BMC demolishes Shiamak Davar's south Mumbai dance academy

Feb 08, 2018, 18:40 IST | Laxman Singh

Two years after issuing notice, BMC finally demolishes illegal constructions inside ace choreographer's studio, 11 other properties, below Mahalaxmi bridge

Demolition work going on at Shiamak Davar's studio
Demolition work going on at Shiamak Davar's studio

Two years after the BMC first issued a notice to ace Bollywood choreographer Shiamak Davar for illegal constructions at his dance studio, located below the 80-year-old bridge near Mahalaxmi station, the civic body has finally acted on its order. Davar's studio, comprising three galas -- warehouses leased by BMC for storage purposes -- was among 11 others, where unauthorised additions and constructions were demolished last week.

According to a BMC official, there are a total of 36 galas below the bridge. The municipal body had leased out these properties decades ago, under its Vacant Land Tenements (VLT) policy for storage and godown purpose.

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Davar converted three galas under Mahalaxmi bridge into a dance studio
Davar converted three galas under Mahalaxmi bridge into a dance studio

However, most of the tenants had sublet the galas -- as per policy it cannot be sublet -- and also allowed illegal addition and alterations inside them, risking the bridge's structure and stability (see box).

Confirming the development, a senior civic official from G-South Ward, Worli, said, "We have demolished illegal additions and alterations like wooden partitions, cabins, brick walls at Davar's dance studio. We had issued showcause notices to them in the past too, against illegal construction."

Wooden partitions, cabins and brick walls have been demolished at Shiamak Davar's dance studio
Wooden partitions, cabins and brick walls have been demolished at Shiamak Davar's dance studio

While the BMC has taken action against two of Davar's galas -- gala No. 10 and 11 --  they could not carry out demolition work at gala No. 5 due to a stay order from the court. "We have prepared a list of court stays given to the galas for their unauthorised construction. We will speed up the process and try to vacate the stay as soon as possible."

In July 12, 2016, mid-day had first reported about the BMC issuing a notice against Davar's dance studio. Last year, mid-day had also reported about civic body's inaction against a famous pet clinic below the bridge, despite several alterations within its premises.

Wooden partitions, cabins and brick walls have been demolished at Shiamak Davar’s dance studio

Speaking to mid-day, local Yuva Sena leader Shiv Sena Abhijit Patil, who had filed several complaints against illegal constructions inside the galas, said, "All constructions inside the galas had been done by ignoring safety of bridge, which is more than 80 years old. Corrupt civic officials were hand in glove with the lessees. The galas were supposed to be given for storage, but it is being commercially exploited."

Shiamak Davar, along with his students, at the studio
Shiamak Davar, along with his students, at the studio 

He added, "Action by the civic body was long overdue. I hope other galas are demolished too."

When contacted, Devendra Kumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of G-South ward said, "Action will be taken against the remaining galas in our ward. We are currently expediting court stay matters."

At the time of going to press, Davar was unavailable for comment.

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