Man be­hind Ker­ala House com­plaint held, buf­falo meat sold out on re­turn BMC planned to spend `200cr to re­build 113 good roads in city

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HINDUSTANTIMES - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Lax­man Singh lax­man.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The man be­hind the Ker­ala House beef row was ar­rested for ru­mour mon­ger­ing on Wed­nes­day while pop­u­lar buf­falo meat dishes were back on the menu at the state guest­house can­teen and sold out in 45 min­utes. The can­teen, open to the pub­lic, had tem­po­rar­ily dis­con­tin­ued “buff” or buf­falo meat amid a po­lit­i­cal row trig­gered by an al­leged raid on the guest­house af­ter the head of a fringe right-wing out­fit called po­lice to com­plain that beef was be­ing served there.

Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta, on whose com­plaint a posse of Delhi Po­lice per­son­nel en­tered Ker­ala House on Mon­day evening, was ar­rested and ques­tioned for fil­ing a false com­plaint.

The row en­sured a “sold out” tag on the menu board around 1.30pm af­ter the guest­house eatery, Sam­ridhi, opened for lunch and started serv­ing buf­falo meat fry and curry at 12.45pm. More meat had to be brought, cooked and served af­ter the ini­tial 12 ki­los were pol­ished off by an un­usu­ally large lunch-time crowd drawn to the can­teen at the cen­tre of a po­lit­i­cal storm.

CPM lead­ers were seen rel­ish­ing the sec­ond batch, al­though sec­ond help­ings were cour­te­ously de­clined. “Our pre­pared stock was enough to serve 150 peo­ple dur­ing lunch hours,” a mem­ber of the kitchen staff said. He in­formed that any­where be­tween 60 and 70 plates of buf­falo meat were sold ev­ery day at Rs50 each.

An es­ti­mated Rs200 crore of pub­lic money was about to be spent on re­pair­ing roads in the western sub­urbs that were in per­fectly good con­di­tion — re­veal­ing once again the ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the road depart­ment and putting the fo­cus back on the al­leged nexus be­tween con­trac­tors, of­fi­cials and cor­po­ra­tors.

The is­sue came to light fol­low­ing a re­view or­dered by civic chief Ajoy Me­hta. It showed 113 road re­con­struc­tion con­tracts were about to be handed over to con­trac­tors, when th­ese roads needed no re­pairs at all.

Me­hta has now de­cided to re­duce the num­ber roads that will be re­paired in the western sub­urbs. The BMC had planned to re­build 330 roads be­tween Ban­dra and Dahisar, at an es­ti­mated cost of Rs500 crore.

The ma­nip­u­la­tion in the num­ber of roads that ac­tu­ally needed re­pairs has once again raised ques­tions over the func­tion­ing of the civic road depart­ment.

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