Residents' complaints prompt BMC to issue warning to Abu Azmi over alleged encroachment of Shivaji Nagar library; residents rally to save the facility for underprivileged children
Campaign launched by residents against the misuse of library
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a warning to Samajwadi Party Legislator Abu Azmi from the Govandi-Mankhurd area, cautioning him against using a library cum study centre, originally intended for underprivileged children in Shivaji Nagar, for political events and meetings. The BMC received complaints from locals, prompting them to address the issue in a letter dated July 19.
According to the letter, the BMC had granted permission for the establishment of a library and study centre at Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj recreation ground in the Shivaji Nagar area in March 2023. However, a complaint lodged on July 3 by a resident named Nafees Ansari, along with attached photographs, alleged that the premises meant for a library and study centre were being used for political events and programs. BMC officials deemed this usage as objectionable and a violation of the terms and conditions of the permission granted. The letter further warned of potential action if the place is misused for political purposes again. mid-day is in possession of this letter.
Residents in the M East ward, primarily residing in slums with limited space at home, initially welcomed the library cum study centre initiative, anticipating its usefulness for students in the area. However, they soon observed alleged misuse of the premises for political activities, raising concerns about disturbances that could hinder students’ learning opportunities. Faiyaz Alam Shaikh, a resident of Govandi and founder-president of the New Sangam Welfare Society, stated, “A meeting was held on July 13 between residents and civic officials to address the issue, and assurances were given that action would be taken.”
Nafees Ansari, the complainant who wrote to the BMC, voiced suspicions that the MLA and party workers might be encroaching upon the centre. While acknowledging that the library was set up using MLA funds, Ansari pointed out that partitions had been installed, creating a skill centre in collaboration with a private firm. While this initiative could be helpful for students interested in skill training, it also raised concerns about disturbance and reduced library space for studying. Ansari further alleged, “The premises had been frequently used for political meetings, party functions, and events.”
In response to the alleged misuse, residents of Govandi-Mankhurd launched a campaign to save the library. They have put up posters and handbills to raise awareness among the community about the issue and garner support for preserving the intended purpose of the facility. In response to the allegations, Abu Azmi denied any misuse of the library cum study centre for political events, with the exception of one incident when they distributed free sewing machines to locals due to rain. Azmi told mid-day, “I have not received the letter as I was busy with assembly sessions. I personally funded the maintenance of the library and study centre and we will soon reply to the BMC’s letter to clarify the matter. The premises will never be used for political events.” Alka Sasne, assistant municipal commissioner of M East ward was not available for comment.
BMC wrote to Abu Azmi