Association wins battle against encroachments in Joggers’ Park | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Association wins battle against encroachments in Joggers’ Park

May 31, 2024 07:48 AM IST

The residents, over 700 of them, have been fighting to clear off the langar (free kitchen) and gurudwara in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Joggers Park since last year, as religious activities had increased, affecting the park’s secular nature and obstructing the walker’s path

Mumbai: After a long and protracted fight, the Lokhandwala Joggers Park Association (LJPA) on Wednesday won the battle against the encroachments in their neighbourhood joggers’ park. The BMC delivered a speaking order to the owner of the encroaching gurudwara, as they had failed to provide permissions for it, asking them to remove the illegal structure within 15 days or face demolition at their cost.

The BMC delivered a speaking order to the owner of the encroaching gurudwara, as they had failed to provide permissions for it, asking them to remove the illegal structure within 15 days or face demolition at their cost.
The BMC delivered a speaking order to the owner of the encroaching gurudwara, as they had failed to provide permissions for it, asking them to remove the illegal structure within 15 days or face demolition at their cost.

The residents, over 700 of them, have been fighting to clear off the langar (free kitchen) and gurudwara in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Joggers Park since last year, as religious activities had increased, affecting the park’s secular nature and obstructing the walker’s path. The langar and gurudwara first started in the pandemic, when food was prepared, distributed and eaten in the park and the caretaker’s cabin was converted into a gurudwara.

“There is a great enthusiasm amongst the walkers in the hope of securing justice after a long struggle of one year. Finally, we will have the park for its intended purpose,” said OP Monga, chairman, LJPA.

After a wedding was held in the park in December 2023, the residents ramped up their campaign and visited several officials in the complaint, including the assistant commissioner of the K West ward, Prithviraj Chauhan. Despite a notice dated January 23 and a reminder on February 2 asking the gurudwara to function permissions to the BMC, the gurudwara continued functioning. LJPA claimed they had political backing, giving them the leeway.

In February, the residents protested against the encroachments and had an FIR registered against around 70 unnamed protestors as they didn’t have permission as Section 144 was in place.

This final action by the BMC comes after a battle in the Bombay High Court with the LJPA filing a PIL in the Court in February. In its interim order on May 9, the court placed the responsibility to ensure no further construction or encroachment takes place in the park on the assistant commissioner, Prithviraj Chauhan. As the park is within 50 meters of mangroves, the Mangrove Protection and Conservation Monitoring Committee had also enquired if there was any harm to the mangroves. It further asked the BMC to take the January notice to its logical end, as the seven days given to it for a reply were long gone, before the next hearing on June 26.

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