Mumbai: BJP MP Gopal Shetty puts up banner, accuses BMC of taking away plot

Updated: Feb 25, 2020, 07:58 IST | Shirish Vaktania | Mumbai

While Gopal Shetty says Mahila Aadhar Bhavan is being used for women empowerment activities, BMC says NGO is using it for commercial purpose without agreement.

The banners have been put up outside Mahila Aadhar Bhavan
The banners have been put up outside Mahila Aadhar Bhavan

Days after the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) got the Mahila Aadhar Bhavan at Kandivali vacated and put an end to the alleged illegal activities being carried out by an NGO in the name of women empowerment, north region MP Gopal Shetty put up a banner outside the building accusing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of taking away the plot. He has also demanded that the plot be returned to Kirti Mahila Utkarsh Mandal, the NGO, which according to him was conducting activities to empower women. However, the BMC has said that the plot was being used for marriages and private exhibitions.

Through the banner, Shetty has alleged, "We constructed this structure to conduct women's social activities and to run small-scale industries to help them generate income. We have sent several letters to the civic body but they are not ready to enter into an agreement for use of the land."

Mahila Aadhar Bhavan is located at Poisor gymkhana road in Kandivali West. The structure stands on a 7,000 square feet plot. In 2011, BMC had handed over the plot to MHADA to set up the centre. Thereafter, a one-storey building was constructed with R75 lakh from the MLA fund.

Since the past eight years, Kirti Mahila Utkarsh Mandal is using the structure allegedly for commercial purpose and making money out of it. Recently MHADA got the plot vacated after it issued a notice to the NGO on January 29. It will soon be handed over to the BMC.

Complainant and social activist, Reji Abraham said, "The NGO was misusing a public space and using the property without an agreement. I filed the complaint with Lokayukta ML Tahaliyani in May last year." The Lokayukta had also issued a notice to the MHADA to register an FIR at Kandivali police station against the NGO for trespassing and running illegal activities at Mahila Aadhar Bhavan.

An enquiry was also conducted against assistant BMC commissioner, Kishore Gandhi for allowing unauthorised use of the plot.

Speaking to mid-day, executive engineer of MHADA Slum Improvement Board, B G Tripathi, said, "We found out that the structure was being used for commercial purpose and no agreement has been signed between the NGO and BMC. The structure will be handed over to the civic body."

Ruchi Mane, who runs Kirti Mahila Utkarsh Mandal, said, "We do social work for women. There are 200 women in our team and we were using this structure to conduct a beauty parlour course. We were also undertaking packaging of diapers for senior citizens. We also used to give this place for marriage functions of poor people free of cost. We will approach the BMC and enter into an agreement with them to use this place for woman empowerment."

When contacted, MP Shetty said, "We constructed the Mahila Adhar Bhavan so that poor women can do some work and earn to run their homes. Social activists and the BMC are not supporting me in running the centre. I will give the women this centre. They are not doing anything wrong."

Year BMC handed over plot to MHADA to construct centre

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