The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday started demolishing 11 stalls in the controversial Shubhada tower in Worli in which high-profile leaders of the state have flats.
The twin towers, Shubhada and Sukhada, in the upscale Worli area were served notices by BMC for illegal alterations on the ground and the first floor of the buildings.
Armed with around 25 policemen from the Worli police station, the civic staff started the demolition around 11 am. Of the 11 stalls, two blocks owned by Congress leader Rajani Patil and her husband and former leader Ashok Patil were completely demolished. The owners of the rest include former minister of state Pratapsingh Mohite Patil, state Congress leader Ranjit Deshmukh, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and former food and civic supplies minister Anil Deshmukh’s son Salil Deshmukh, among others.
The civic body had earlier issued notices under Section 53 (1) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act (MRTP) for converting convenience stores into offices and gymnasium.
Keshav Ubale, assistant commissioner of the G-South ward, which includes Worli, said, “There are a lot of internal alterations in the building, including open terraces, removal of a partition wall to join two shops for more space and inclusion of glass panels. We have started the demolition procedure and are hoping to finish it by Wednesday.”
Officials confirmed that they had served 25 notices to tenants from both the towers, of which 12 members complied by restoring the units according to the original plans. “Four tenants from the Sukhada building have approached the court. Therefore, the matter is sub judice and we have not undertaken inspection of the building at present,” the official added.
In December 2014, G-South ward officials had planned to demolish the illegal alterations at 11 stalls in Sukhada and Shubhada housing societies in Worli and even sought police cover. But they were forced to postpone the action due to “non-availability” of policemen.
On Tuesday, BMC undertook another demolition in the Zakarai Masjid Street in Masjid Bunder. The ground-plus-seven structure was earlier served a notice on illegalities under section 354 (A) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act. A civic official from the B-ward, which includes Masjid Bunder, said, “We have demolished internal alterations in the building and are in the process of demolishing the top two floors of the structure that have been constructed illegally.”
Since the area is crowded and has narrow lanes, BMC also found it difficult to complete the procedure without disturbing neighbourhood residents, officials said. Around 50 police personnel from the Dongri police station were present at the spot, he said.