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Show-cause notice to be issued against Brahma Kumaris over illegal construction in Mumbai

Monday, 19 May 2014 - 6:49am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

NCP corporator Rakhee Jadhav out to expose alleged illegal constructions done by the spiritual organisation on BMC plots

After drawing flak for the alleged detention of a minor boy on Sunday, the ashram of the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya, located on a BMC-owned playground at Ghatkopar, may face further trouble. The N-ward office has decided to issue a show cause notice to the ashram, for allegedly carrying out structural irregularities. "We have received certain complaints of structural violations. We will issue a show cause notice and carry out a probe on the violations carried out by them," said Vijay Kamble, assistant municipal commissioner of N ward.

Nationalist Congress Party corporator Rakhee Jadhav said the organisation had carried out several illegal constructions. "The adoption agreement of the organisation had expired in 2004, while the stay on adoption and caretaker policy was granted in 2007 by the state government. So the BMC should have taken back the ground between that period." She said they had also not cleared water bills and other dues. Jadhav has also written to the additional municipal commissioner of eastern suburbs, talking about the illegal construction of a compound wall apart from several rooms, offices, halls, passages and garages being built. She also mentioned that the organisation offers restricted entry into the ashram compound. A copy of the letter is with dna. "It is a BMC plot, which is reserved for a play ground. Any type of construction made for recreational purposes is a violation of the Development Control Rules for Greater Mumbai and invites prosecution under Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, and the Mumbai Municipal Act," the letter reads.

According to the organisation's website, it has 58 centres across Mumbai. However, records obtained from the civic body show 11 of them are on BMC's recreation grounds (RG), playgrounds (PG) and gardens. The adoption agreements of many centres have expired, but the grounds remain with them because of a stay on the adoption and caretaker policy granted by the state government in 2007.
Ward officials of F-south ward confirmed that the adoption agreements of two of its centres in the ward expired in 2007.
Similarly, H west ward officials confirmed that agreements of two of the organisation's centres at the Swami Muktanand Park at Santacruz and at the Katraj Udyan on Perry Cross Road have also expired seven years ago.

Their centre at a Borivali at Devidas road junction also faces the same issue according to R central ward officials. However, they said they haven't received any complaints about the centre so far.
Brahma Kumari member Harsha refuted allegations of any illegal construction. "We have all the permissions from the Development Planning department of the BMC. We have all the records and copies of bills paid," she said. On Thursday, Jadhav and the minor boy's parents visited Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria. A police official from Pant Nagar police station said, "It's a cross complaint case. We are investigating."

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