The civic authority demolished illegal sheds erected by a popular Khar restaurant, which could well be the beginning of a crackdown on several eateries in the Union Park for violation of various rules.
The H/West ward has issued notices to at least three other outlets in the area for similar violations and complaints by local residents about encroachment and activities that pose a hazard are pending against some others.
No permission for sheds
A squad of the H/West ward took down the extension sheds that were put up around "Le Sutra" ostensibly to ward off rain water. Ward officials said the restaurant, located off Carter Road, had not sought necessary permission for the shed.
"We issued a notice to the restaurant 15 days ago (under section 152 of MRTP Act) ordering them to remove the violations. Since they did not comply with the orders we had to start with the demolition of the illegal structures," said Prashant Sapkale, assistant municipal commissioner.
According to officials, a restaurant staffer had tried to assault Sapkale, who was leading the demolition squad, and an FIR was registered in the matter.
Hotel goes to court
Hetram Kumar, director, Pali Hill Tourist Hotels Pvt Ltd, which owns Le Sutra said, "We moved the high court after we got the notice. The ward authorities should have waited for the hearing before carrying
out the demolition. We have not carried out any illegal construction."
Notices to other outlets
Sapkale said notices had been issued simultaneously to three other eateries in the area – Shatranj hotel, Olive and Nido – for similar violations and action would be taken against them in the next couple of days.
A ward official said, "We have cancelled their permission to operate in the open space around the building as they had carried out illegal constructions."
Growing menace in Union Park
Nearly 25 such eateries have opened business in the Union Park area in the past few years, causing traffic congestion and noise that has become a nuisance for residents. They have been protesting against this and even registered complaints.
"It's a nuisance because of the crowds of people who flock to the area along this stretch that is a residential area," said Bharti Kakkad, a resident. "We are happy that the process has started."
She pointed out that in some cases, the chimneys of restaurants emitted smoke that blows into houses in the buildings. Also the sheds posed a fire hazard.
Fire, traffic depts warning
Two years ago, the fire brigade had carried out an inspection of the restaurants on Govind Ghag Marg and suggested that the ward authority undertake a verification of the structures and check whether the sheds erected around the buildings were permitted.
The traffic police had also written to the ward, pointing out the inconvenience due to haphazard parking in the area.
"Due to the violations by the eateries, citizens experience problems and even walking about is difficult because of the traffic congestion," the traffic police wrote to the ward office.
The Union Park Residents' Association is planning a poster campaign to inform patrons of the restaurants about the problems.