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Mumbai Mayor ‘threatens’ official for demolishing illegal stalls, audio goes viral

  • Mrinalini Singh
  • June 23, 2017
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Political aegis for illegal constructions is one of Mumbai’s worst-kept secret. It is a usual practice for corporators to restrict or delay efforts to eradicate encroachments on public space. In this case, it was the Mumbai mayor himself at work, attempting to hinder efforts to remove 18 stalls on Linking Road, Bandra’s popular shopping hub, after they violated license terms.

The audio clip of the conversation between Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and the official is of 1 minute and 28 seconds. The civic body Thursday demolished at least 18 licensed stalls on Linking Road and one stall on Hill Road in Bandra (West). Sources close to the mayor said a delegation of licence holding hawkers from Linking Road had come to him seeking help.

In the audio clip Mahadeshwar is heard questioning the civic officer in Marathi language as to why notices were served to the stall owners. Accusing the officer of ‘troubling’ the stall owners because they are from a particular community. He also says the stalls have been standing there for the last five decades. The officer is then heard justifying the demolition saying he is only following orders, to which the Mayor asks him to bring his seniors to him.

Senior officials said action was being taken following an HC order and a circular issued by the licence department. “Though they are licence holders, they are supposed to follow certain terms and conditions while conducting their business. Many of them have not been following the rules. So, an inspection is carried out to ascertain the violations and then show cause notice is issued. If there is no improvement, licences are cancelled,” explained an official, adding that he didn’t know the exact details of the case the mayor was referring to.

BMC has been receiving complaints from citizens that they cannot walk on the footpath at Linking Road as stalls have taken over more area than provides to them. Also, many of the stalls owners had rented out space to others or selling commodities other than those permitted by their license, said a civic officer.

Political aegis for illegal constructions is one of Mumbai’s worst-kept secret. It is a usual practice for corporators to restrict or delay efforts to eradicate encroachments on public space. In this case, it was the Mumbai mayor himself at work, attempting to hinder efforts to remove 18 stalls on Linking Road, Bandra’s popular shopping hub, after they violated license terms. The audio clip of the conversation between Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and the official is of 1 minute and 28 seconds. The civic body Thursday demolished at least 18 licensed stalls on Linking Road and one stall on Hill Road in Bandra (West). Sources close to the mayor said a delegation of licence holding hawkers from Linking Road had come to him seeking help. In the audio clip Mahadeshwar is heard questioning the civic officer in Marathi language as to why notices were served to the stall owners. Accusing the officer of ‘troubling’ the stall owners because they are from a particular community. He also says the stalls have been standing there for the last five decades. The officer is then heard justifying the demolition saying he is only following orders, to which the Mayor asks him to bring his seniors to him. Senior officials said action was being taken following an HC order and a circular issued by the licence department. “Though they are licence holders, they are supposed to follow certain terms and conditions while conducting their business. Many of them have not been following the rules. So, an inspection is carried out to ascertain the violations and then show cause notice is issued. If there is no improvement, licences are cancelled,” explained an official, adding that he didn’t know the exact details of the case the mayor was referring to. BMC has been receiving complaints from citizens that they cannot walk on the footpath at Linking Road as stalls have taken over more area than provides to them. Also, many of the stalls owners had rented out space to others or selling commodities other than those permitted by their license, said a civic officer.

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