Desperation to hush up the ongoing controversy regarding encroachment of space by the eateries at Futala lake has led Nagpur Improvement Trust officials to initiate a formal action against those violating. Surprisingly, no structure was either demolished or removed in the process.
The matter which came up for hearing at Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on July 3 has been posted for next hearing on July 25. Hearing the public interest litigation filed by RTI activist Sanjay Agrawal, the court has sought an appropriate affidavit from him and also directed NIT to submit the details about how it is dealing with the issue. The court also asked NIT Chairman about the action he proposes to take against the structures that have come up in the areas other than the allotted ones. It also sought information about the officers responsible for allowing such structures besides inquiring about the government body receiving the rent.
It may be mentioned that Nagpur Improvement Trust had leased out the land to Sell Ads which further passed those on to other individual players to set up their food joints. Meanwhile, more new joints cropped up despite the fact that permission was given to set up only 20 eateries or shops. Even the space allotted for parking was encroached upon and given away to set up shops without permission. Sources even did not rule out the possibility of connivance of the officials with the concerned agency Sell Ads.
Following the hearing on July 3, NIT’s west zone officials reached Futala lake with their anti-encroachment squad and removed few temporary structures from the place. Sources said this was deliberately done to come up with justified reply in the court of law. “It has also been done so that the officials cannot have to see in their blank face,” a source added.
Meanwhile, Agrawal has alleged that NIT officials are just trying to cover up the matter. The anti-encroachment drive, taken up on July 8 at Futala lake, was nothing short of an eyewash, he said adding that the west zone officer Dhankar remained at the spot for good 5 hours but nothing substantial was done on his behalf. Eventually, they returned with a piece of warning to the stall owners to remove the encroachement.
However some of the food spots like Dominos Pizza, Cutting Chaii, Lake Side Grill among others removed their extension that was raised around and above their set ups.
Hearing the petition on July 3, the court also pointed out that the petitioner to point out 20 excluding structures officially permitted, hence he must be given two weeks time to file appropriate petition.
Now both NIT and Agrawal will be coming out with more details in this regard.
It may be mentioned that the clause 4.14 of the agreement between NIT and Sell Ads read the latter is permitted to set up 20 food kiosks whereas clause 4.20 provide for giving out space to additional 10 mini hawkers.
Agrawal alleged in his petition that the clause for 20 food kiosks was brazenly violated and even the space reserved for parking area has also been utilized for construction of additional food kiosks. The petition said that Sell Ads has breached the terms and conditions by not only bringing up excess food kiosks but also erection of illegal boards and hoardings, installation of games without safety measures for children and contributing to uncleanliness and unhygienic conditions at the lake side.
The petition also stated that Sell Ads has blatantly overlooked the maintenance of the area and did not pay any heed to cleanliness of the area. It said the concerned officials of NIT had not taken any action since the establishment of aforesaid illegal food kiosks. This led Sell Ads to reap rich commercial benefits in breach of the agreement.