Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­

VASHI: The spe­cial demolition drive by NMMC at the APMC Masala mar­ket on Thurs­day was stalled at the last minute due to un­avail­abil­ity of the req­ui­site po­lice ban­dobast.

The city po­lice re­fused to pro­vide per­son­nel for the ban­dobast cit­ing se­cu­rity en­gage­ments for the leg­isla­tive coun­cil elec­tions on Fri­day.

Mean­while, the traders have been try­ing their best to pre­vent any ac­tion. They even staged a protest on Thurs­day to put pres­sure on the of­fi­cials.

The five markets in APMC mar­ket have re­port­edly be­come the big­gest com­mer­cial en­croach­ment hubs. Sources al­lege that the traders have in col­lu­sion with APMC of­fi­cials, per­son­nel and se­cu­rity depart­ment en­croached huge ar­eas in the mar­ket.

An NMMC of­fi­cial said, “In masala mar­ket, around 650 traders have al­leged con­structed il­le­gal lofts and mez­za­nine floors. Shop­keep­ers in Mer­chant Cham­ber lo­cated out­side the mar­ket too have al­legedly con­structed lofts.”

The NMMC had ear­lier on May 16 un­der­taken a drive to re­move the en­croach­ments. The ac­tion was how­ever stopped due to op­po­si­tion by traders who claimed that they had taken ad­di­tional FSI per­mis­sion.

The of­fi­cial said, “Fol­low­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the doc­u­ments, it was found that no FSI per­mis­sion had been sanc­tioned. The next drive was again planned for June 2. NMMC had in­formed po­lice about it and asked for po­lice se­cu­rity for its per­son­nel, to which the po­lice had agreed.”

On Wed­nes­day, a meet­ing was held be­tween APMC, po­lice and NMMC of­fi­cials. NMMC had made all ar­range­ments for the demolition ac­tion.

An NMMC of­fi­cial said, “In the morn­ing, the anti-en­croach­ment depart­ment re­ceived a letter from po­lice that they will not be able to pro­vide se­cu­rity.”

He lamented, “One fails to un­der­stand why the po­lice changed their stance at the last mo­ment. We will plan the demolition drive on a dif­fer­ent date.”

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