Tuesday 23 Jul 2024

Illegal business activities thriving sans licences in Karaswada

MMC says several shops have no trade permits

AGNELO PEREIRA | JUNE 07, 2024, 01:01 AM IST
Illegal business activities thriving sans licences in Karaswada

The chaotic traffic snarls experienced at the Karaswada junction due to the illegal structures.

Photo Credits: Agnelo Pereira

An investigation has revealed that at least a dozen business establishments, including several restaurants, have been operating illegally for over two decades at the Karaswada junction in Mapusa.

These businesses, functioning without the necessary trade licenses from the Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC), are reportedly shielded by a BJP-backed councillor.

The unauthorised shops and kiosks, primarily situated on tenanted land belonging to the Mapusa Comunidade, lack approvals not only from the MMC but also from crucial government departments such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health, fire, and electricity authorities.

Despite their illegal status, these establishments have continued their operations unabated, causing significant inconvenience to nearby residents and motorists. The junction is notorious for daily traffic jams, especially during peak hours, due to the heavy movement of vehicles.

Information obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act confirms that the MMC has not issued trade licences to the following establishments at the junction: Siddhi Hotel, Zam Zam Aflatoon Restaurant, Shreesha’s Urban Sigdhi Restaurant, Sahil Aflatoon Fast Food, Raj Kumar Fabricators, Maniyar Traders, Royal Interior Furniture, Shree Ganesh Raika Sweet Mart, a hair cutting salon, Ramdav Electricals & Plumbing Hardware, and Saiban Mobile Repairing & Accessories.

A decade ago, former MMC chief officer Raju Gawas had initiated action against these illegal structures, leading to the demolition of several units. However, the demolitions were halted, allegedly due to the political influence of the councillor concerned. The demolished structures were subsequently reconstructed, and business activities resumed.

Sources indicate that most of the unauthorised shops and kiosks are owned by the councillor, who has sublet them to various individuals to run their businesses. This arrangement has perpetuated the illegal operations, contributing to a thriving black market economy at the expense of lawful business practices and public order.

Atmaram Gadekar, a resident of Verla-Canca, has taken a stand against this blatant disregard for the law. In a letter addressed to the Director of Municipal Administration and the MMC Chief Officer, Gadekar urged immediate action to ensure that these establishments either obtain the required trade licenses or cease their operations. He highlighted the alleged involvement of certain council officials and councillors in extorting protection money, which has allowed these businesses to operate with impunity.

"Despite clear breaches of the law, business activities continue to flourish due to the alleged involvement of certain council officials and councillors who are reportedly extorting protection money. The lack of intervention by government departments not only undermines the rule of law but also raises serious concerns about corruption and accountability," Gadekar stated in his complaint.

Senior civic officials when contacted for comments on the matter have remained tight-lipped. The ongoing situation at Karaswada junction in Mapusa is a stark reminder of the challenges faced in enforcing municipal regulations and combating corruption.

The unchecked growth of illegal businesses, facilitated by political patronage, continues to disrupt the lives of residents and the daily commute of motorists, highlighting an urgent need for accountability and effective governance in the region.

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