A group of civic activists from Bandra camped at Khar police station demanding a copy of the letter written by the police to civic ward office declining any No Objection Certificate (NOC) for 90 pitches for night stalls during Ramzaan. BMC has been giving such permission since the past three years. However, this year, the police has denied being part of the entire controversy.
Khar police has written a letter to the H – west ward office, clarifying that the BMC never takes permission or NOC from the police while giving permissions for allotting stalls for Mount Mary Fair, Mahim Dargah Fair and other such festivals. BMC, for the fourth year in a row, has allowed the 1X1 feet pitches to set up temporary stalls in the narrow congested lanes of 1st, 9th, 33rd and 37th Road in Khar (W). The stalls are permitted in the name of Ramzaan celebrations and will be allowed to conduct business between 5pm till 3am, in turn, disturbing residents' sleep and creating law and order problems.
The civic ward office had, on Tuesday, claimed that they had police NOC and were giving the permission after getting a green signal from the local police station. However, police claimed that they have already issued the letter clarifying their stand. "That's when I had demanded the copy of the letter written by V Sonawane, senior police inspector, Khar police station. I wanted to confront the civic officials who are acting on local politicians' orders and giving permissions for the stalls in congested lanes, instead of giving them space near malls and shopping complex areas, which belong to political leaders," said Aftab Siddique, chairperson of ALM of 33rd road resident association, who was supported by other civic activists.
Siddique said that while the official permission is given only 90 pitches, corrupt officials from BMC and police, in connivance with politicians, allow more than 150 vendors to carry out business.
While Sonawane refused to comment on the issue, sources from the police station said that the senior officials felt that activists were forcing the police to part with official communication and using blackmailing tactics by camping overnight in the police station.