MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government and BMC to come up with a permanent solution to protect suburban Versova beach from illegal encroachments.
A division bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Abhay Ahuja was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Ameet Satam, BJP MLA from Andheri west constituency, through advocate Prahlad Paranjape, raising concerns over drug peddling and prostitution at the beachfront.
The plea sought directions to the state government, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and police for maintenance and upkeep of the beach as well as 24x7 surveillance for security. "These illegal structures breed graver problems such as drug peddling and prostitution in the shanties at night and in the area around the beach making the beach unsafe for common citizens," the petition said.
The bench directed the government and the civic body to find a permanent solution to the issue and file an affidavit next week. Satam, in his plea, said that he had raised the issue in December, 2014, following which, in 2015, the illegal shanties were demolished.
However, these structures returned in June, 2016. The plea said that such shanties come up regularly during monsoon, and sought that the BMC take precautionary measures before monsoon. "Because of the proximity to hostile nations, it is imperative to establish a permanent surveillance station on the beach which is manned 24 hours by trained police personnel," the petition said.
It sought for a beach monitoring committee to be constituted comprising citizens, elected representatives, police and civic staff to permanently monitor the situation at the beach and submit reports to concerned authorities.