Mumbai: Highway Gomantak in Bandra fight with housing society over maintenance
Management of city's fav seafood spot Highway Gomantak and members of its housing society spar over maintenance dues, advertising share and alleged encroachment
Bandra's famous Goan food eatery — Highway Gomantak — is at loggerheads with the housing society where it is housed. The Gandhinagar Pranav Co-operative society has included the eatery in the list of defaulters on property tax payments even as the owners claim that there is no parity in the way the BMC levies assessment charges for the property.
The total amount the society owed to the civic body, over a few years, was pegged around R21 lakh, which the society has now paid to avoid any action, with a hope of recovering the dues from the eatery. The Potnis family that manages the restaurant has been asking the society's managing committee to question the BMC over 20 times higher assessment charges as compared to other buildings in the vicinity.
The housing co-operative society has, however, not taken any action on the issue in charges. Prawal Potnis, a member of the family that manages the Highway Gomantak business, said, "The taxes levied are arbitrary in nature. The managing committee should question the administration on the disparity in levying of taxes to their society in comparison to other buildings in the area. We are willing to pay the dues provided they are levied according to the norms and at parity with other societies in the vicinity. If the amount is reduced other members of the society too are going to be benefited."
The Estate department of the BMC had issued a warrant of attachment to the Gandhinagar Pranav Co-operative Society for non-payment of property tax after which the payment was made. Victor Sequeria, chairman of the society, said that the entire society had been embarrassed and inconvenienced for the fault of a few members. "Eight of the total 36 members in the society are not paying their dues. Of these, four of the housing units are owned by Potnis family members," the chairman added. Asked why the committee members were not taking up the issue of excess charges as claimed by Potnis, the chairman said, "The information is misleading and there is no merit in the case."
Besides payment dues, the society and eatery owners have also been exchanging blows over the advertisement hoarding put up in the building premises. Potnis alleged that revenue earned through advertisement is shared by the society in cash. According to society by-rules, earnings of the society cannot be shared among its members. They must be deposited in the treasury. "They are not just flouting norms but even sharing the earnings in cash. I have objected to it. I have asked them to make me this payment in cheque if they must. So far, I have not taken a single rupee. The total amount that the society owes to me is more than what my dues are. Hence, the society should calculate the amount and return the access amount back to me," he added. However, the chairman has termed these allegations as baseless. "There is no such revenue sharing done. This is merely to divert attention from the core issues," Sequeria insisted.
Rs 21 lakh
Dues the society has now paid to the BMC
No. of defaulters
No. of housing units the eatery owns
Society alleges encroachment
The managing committee of the society has complained to the BMC and MHADA asking authorities to take action against the hotelier for encroachment and violation of rules. "We have been raising a red flag against the hotelier for brazenly flouting norms. But there is hardly any action on it," said one of the managing committee members of the society. Refuting the charges, the eatery owner claimed that the society itself has given them an irrevocable NOC to perform business. "The issue was taken to the court twice. On both occasions, I have won the case. Hence there is no merit in the charges of illegal or unauthorised construction," Potnis added.
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