BMC firms up demolition plan for houseboats operating ‘illegally’ on Powai lake

Powai corporator Avinash Sawant had raised the issue in December 2013.

Written by Tanushree Venkatraman | Mumbai | Published:December 11, 2014 1:56 am
There are about 10 to 12 houseboats involved in commercial activities without requisite permission. (Source: Express photo) There are about 10 to 12 houseboats involved in commercial activities without requisite permission. (Source: Express photo)

Almost a year after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator complained about the Maharashtra State Angling Association (MSAA) using houseboats illegally on Powai lake, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to demolish the structures at the earliest.

Officials from the hydraulic engineering department and the S ward office (which includes Powai) have confirmed that they are in the process of giving a time-bound notice to MSAA and “fixing a date” for the demolition.

“We had written to the ward office several times to take the requisite action but there has been a lapse. As per the permissions granted to MSAA, they are only allowed to carry fishing activities in the lake and not any commercial activity,” said Ramesh Bambale, chief hydraulic engineer, BMC. The hydraulic department has also issued a notice to the organisation for “violations on lease agreements.” A site-visit earlier in August by the officials from the department has also revealed that the renewal of lease has been pending since 1991.

Powai corporator Avinash Sawant had raised the issue in December 2013, but alleges that the civic body failed to take appropriate action against MSAA. The corporator has alleged that the houseboats have TV sets, beds and  hookahs and are used for conducting parties. “I took up the issue at the ward level and also wrote to the additional municipal commissioner regarding this. There are 10 to 12 houseboats involved in commercial activities without requisite permissions. We will raise the issue in the improvement committee and the general body meeting again,” said Sawant.

S ward officer Prashant Gaikwad said, “It is the hydraulic department which has been looking at the issue. However, we are coordinating with the department for conducting the demolition process.”

Meanwhile, MSAA Secretary Ali H Hussaini said, “Anybody can come and check our track record over the years. We are completely transparent about the issue and there is nothing illegal about our working.”

tanushree.venkatraman@expressindia.com

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