Mumbai: Bandra housing societies see red over green plot

May 30, 2018, 07:02 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Alleged conversion of a garden into parking space has resulted in one housing society locking the common gate and denying access to residents of neighbouring building

White Orchid housing society resident Paul Varghese (right) and their lawyer Jagdish Ahuja stand outside the gate where vehicular entry has been blocked. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
White Orchid housing society resident Paul Varghese (right) and their lawyer Jagdish Ahuja stand outside the gate where vehicular entry has been blocked. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Residents of two housing societies located in Bandra's Pali Naka area are seeing red over the 'reduction' of a green plot in their shared premises. While White Orchid society alleges Kakad society has reduced the garden area to turn it into a parking space and closed off their common entry gate, the latter has rubbished the allegations, claiming the matter is 'sub judice.'

The issue began 15 days ago, when Kakad society closed off the entry gate it shares with White Orchid. The two buildings share a plot of land measuring about 2,676 square metres, which also includes a recreational ground originally measuring 373 sq m, which has now been reduced to 168.6 sq m. Kakad society claims it has been fighting against the approved plan of the building since 1996.

The entry gate shared by the two housing society, which has been blocked for vehicular entry. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The entry gate shared by the two housing society, which has been blocked for vehicular entry. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Complained to BMC
Hence, according to White Orchid, Kakad claimed some of the garden's space to park their cars, and recently, shut the common entry gate for White Orchid residents' cars. White Orchid has complained to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) about the parking issue.

A society member of White Orchid, Paul Varghese, said, "There is a nursing home in our premises and the main gate is locked. They are not even allowing the ambulances to enter. Kakad was also allotted parking in the original approved plan, but they're encroaching the recreational ground."

White Orchid's lawyer Jagdish Ahuja said, "We have been following up with BMC to take up our complaint since a long time, and finally, when I approached the deputy municipal commissioner, he directed the ward officials to verify the complaint with approved plans and then take action. It was after rigorous follow-up with the BMC ward office that the plans were verified." This was in 2017.

Initiated action
Post that, BMC lodged an FIR at the Bandra police station in October 2017, but no charge sheet has been filed in the case yet. Sharad Ugade, assistant municipal commissioner, said, "We have verified the documents after visiting the building and observed that the recreation ground has been reduced and used for parking purposes. We have already initiated action against members of Kakad society for this, but they are claiming the plans are incorrect. However, we are going ahead with the plans currently available at our office. I will also follow up with the police station on the further course of action."

When mid-day asked the police about why they haven't filed a charge sheet yet, the investigating officer (IO) and senior police inspector (PI) at Bandra police station kept passing the buck to each other. The IO asked mid-day to check with senior PI Pandit Thackeray. He said, "I will check the FIR and update." When mid-day called Thackeray to check about the FIR, he did not answer.

Kakad society says
Responding to the allegations, Kakad society's secretary Kishore Ahuja said, "All allegations made by them are totally incorrect and false. I have put a lock on my property and not on others'. Even that FIR is false, and I have given the BMC a letter asking them to withdraw it and given a copy of the same to the police station. The plans accessed by mid-day have been challenged in court, and since 2003 the Bombay High Court has given a status quo in the case. Thus, the entire plan and FIR itself are totally incorrect."

"BMC is party to the suit, so how can they file an FIR against us? White Orchid has no name on the property card, since it was denied by the city survey because their name is in several court cases. They don't have a title deed either," said Ahuja.

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