'Surgical strike' on Mahim sea-front - BMC razes four-dozen illegal huts

Mumbai, Mar 24 (IANS): The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday bulldozed around 40-50 unauthorised hutments that had cropped on the Mahim Chowpatty area – hours after the Collectorate razed purported illegalities on a rocky islet around 100 metres into the Arabian Sea.

The development came after Mumbai's Resident Deputy Collector (RDC) shot off a letter late on Wednesday to the BMC on the hutments that had come up in the vicinity of the Mahim coastline.

Accordingly, a team led by BMC's Assistant Municipal Commissioners Ramakant Biradar and Prashant Sapkale carried out the operation peacefully with a large posse of police on guard, in the presence of the RDC.

The BMC said that since the encroachment was of "a religious nature and very sensitive", a strong security cordon was deployed in the area to prevent any untoward incident.

The entire demolition drive went off smoothly, without any untoward incident, the BMC said.

It may be recalled that around dawn on Thursday, the Collectorate had ordered the razing of a purported ‘mazaar' coming up on an islet in the sea after an ultimatum issued by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray on Wednesday night.

However, the Pir Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust (PMSCT) – which runs the famed six-century-old Hazrat Makhdum Fakih Ali Mahimi Dargah in Mahim – strongly contested Thackeray's contentions.

PMSCT Managing Trustee Suhail Yacub Khandwani declared on Thursday that "there is no ‘mazaar' as claimed by Raj Thackeray" on the islet in the Arabian Sea off Mahim.

"The dargah (mausoleum) of Pir Makhdum Saheb is this one (in Mahim), which is 600 years old... What is there on the islet is just a ‘chilla' (platform), where the Pir Saheb used to go for studies with his teacher. The BMC today demolished only some illegal objects there, the ‘chilla' remains untouched," Khandwani said.



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Title: 'Surgical strike' on Mahim sea-front - BMC razes four-dozen illegal huts

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