Mumbai: BMC hammer falls on illegal cafe next to petrol pump in Matunga
Officials demolish first floor of VJ Cafe in Matunga, await a favourable order on the adjacent unauthorised eatery
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally acted on the illegal eateries in Matunga that were running abutting a petrol pump. After getting a go-ahead from the Bombay HC, BMC has demolished the unauthorised structure of VJ Cafe near Maheshwari Udyan.
mid-day had first reported (March 19 and 20) about the illegal VJ Cafe and Mawali Bhai Dosa, both operating near the gas station and causing inconvenience to pedestrians by encroaching on the footpath to serve customers.
On Saturday, officials from F-south ward (Matunga, Sion) demolished the first floor of the cafe. "After the city civil court passed an order in our favour, the owner had challenged it in HC, but the latter gave us the green signal to demolish the structure.
The first floor has been completely razed down; now, we are waiting for the decision on Mawali Bhai Dosa, which is expected on Monday. We are confident of getting an order in our favour, as that one, too, is an illegal structure and doesn't have the required permissions," said Keshav Ubale, assistant municipal commissioner of F-south ward.
"Both structures are constructed in compulsory open space of the building. This is illegal and in violation of several safety regulations. We are pursuing this case closely to make sure they get demolished completely."
Local BJP corporator Nehal Shah, who was pursuing this case, said, "I am happy that finally there is some action. But the big question is how this place got a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department, as there is no fire exit, and it is very close to the gas station. Both eateries are illegal and yet have health licences. This is not possible without collusion with civic officials. I hope the civic body will demolish these places completely."
The other side
Speaking to mid-day, Vaibhav Jain of VJ Cafe said, "I was not there in the city when the action happened. I think there is some confusion, as there was a stay [order] from court against any BMC action. I will have to check what led to this demolition, and an appeal will be filed against it. We have a health licence and an NOC from the fire brigade to run this place; there is no illegality."
Two ticking bombs
VJ Cafe and Mawali Bhai Dosa are sandwiched right between a residential building, Mohandas Mansion, and a petrol pump. Residents of Mohandas Mansion fear they are sitting on a ticking time bomb — the kitchen wall at VJ Cafe is the only thing standing between the flames from the stove and the highly inflammable CNG compressor unit just a few metres away.
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