Friday, 30 December 2016

Bachao! Mumbai's Demolition Gangs are doing “Secret Encounters”

Mumbai, 30th December 2016: Did you know that Mumbai municipal officials can bulldoze and smash entire streets without official paperwork? No show-cause notices, no letters and memos, no demolition register entries, no records whatsoever. It's like normal BMC tod-phod in broad daylight, except there's no paper trail. If you ask under Right To Information, BMC says, “No records exist”.

On the morning of 10th December, 2015, Dinesh Bhosle (Sub Engineer H/West Ward), Vikrant Manyar (Junior Engineer) and Siddharth Kasare (petty works contractor) went to 40th Road, Old Khar West with casual labourers and a hired bulldozer, and smashed up many shop extensions.

Here's a video of the demolition, with local resident Imran Mansuri (red shirt) arguing with BMC officials and a policeman. Constable Sanjay Ware in this photo was identified by Khar Police Station in response to Imran’s RTI application. Following Mansuri's complaint to Deven Bharti, Joint CP (Law and Order), Constable Sanjay Ware, in his statement, was clear and truthful:

Surprisingly, although Mansuri wrote to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta with photographic evidence, BMC still continues to repeat that there are no records, and MC's office maintains a stony silence. Several questions arise: Who paid for the bulldozer rentals and casual labourers? Did a private party pay for this smash-up? Did a local politician or businessman benefit from this unofficial demolition drive? Why the secrecy?

BMC officials: Yes, we were there but there are no records
  1. Sting video shows Junior Engineer Vikrant Manyar admits that he was present at the demolition, but says “no information is available about the demolition”.

  2. Another sting video shows MCGM’s First Appellate Authority Rajeshkumar Yadav (Executive Engineer, H/W Ward,) giving evasive replies. He threatens Imran Mansuri for going after the municipal officials with their photos. 
  3. Other RTI Applications, replies, complaints, etc. can be downloaded from here and here.

Mumbai police acknowledged the demolition on 10th December, 2015 on 40th Road, Old Khar West. But Mumbai's municipal corporation has no record. We all know that BMC routinely ignores thousands of unauthorized structures and building code violations throughout Mumbai, but we didn't know that BMC officials did some private tod-phod business on the side, off the books. Now we know,

Krishnaraj Rao

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