After ‘Champions of the Earth’ Award winner Afroz Shah was forced to suspend the clean-up of Versova beach in its 109th week on Sunday following attacks on volunteers, he has found support from Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. In a tweet on Tuesday, Puri said he discussed the matter with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“Deeply concerned about attack on @AfrozShah1 & his volunteers by criminal elements. Took this up with @CMOMaharashtra Was assured that instructions had already been issued to municipal & @MumbaiPolice authorities to give all help.This service to the nation must go on,” read the tweet. “I am thankful to the minister for taking note of our issue and taking it up with the CM,” said Shah. Meanwhile, Shah approached the Versova police on Tuesday.
“We met the senior PI at the police station and told him of our grievances. They will now look into it,” said Shah. However, Kiran Kale, senior police inspector Versova Police Station, said, “He has spoken to me but did not register a complaint. There will be no investigations without a complaint.”
Shah suspended the campaign alleging that goons were abusing and heckling the volunteers and that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) was not picking up the garbage collected at the site.
The MCGM staff have also now begun clearing the garbage after local MLA Bharti Lavhekar and corporator Yogiraj Dabhadkar set them a three-day deadline on Monday. “They have begun picking up the garbage now. If, in the coming days, things fall into place we will resume our activity. But if we are to get back to it then everybody must do their bit including the residents, volunteers and the corporation. We are spending our weekends to clean the beach, the corporation must also do their bit,” Shah added.