The beach battle

As reported by Sandeep Ashar in DNA February 27, 2008

Following DNA’s exposé, social activist plans to lodge an FIR against government officials.

Social activist Amit Maru’s right to information (RTI) application, along with the government’s 1,185-page response to it, helped DNA to expose how a public beach, Chhota Chowpatty, was turned into a ‘By Invitation Only’ complex. And also how, since 1994, it had been systematically parcelled out.

The watchdog, however, doesn’t think that his crusade is over. He has decided to bite. So, Maru will file a criminal complaint (FIR) against government officials, who “connived” to facilitate the land grab.

The activist told DNA, “People must have an unhindered access to the beach. Government authorities just can’t wash their hands off saying that they knew nothing about it.” Claiming that the facility was operating in serious violation of environmental and coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) rules,

Maru’s lawyer YP Singh said, “We plan to register a complaint with police against the BMC ward officer (D ward), the collector’s office and senior officials of MTDC.” Maru added a complaint would also be filed against the directors of Drishtii.

Singh added, “The land comes under CRZ-I, where commercial activity of any nature is a strict no-no. Officials have issued permissions for a restaurant and a cafeteria at a place where all they should have allowed is a jetty with a boarding and landing facility.”