Mumbai: The issue of denying flats to non-vegetarians has again surfaced and it is gathering heat in BMC (Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation). On Tuesday the city municipality Improvement Committee discussed the matter of not allowing non-vegetarians residence in flats by builders and pointed out that legally nothing can be done against such builders due to legal loopholes, but steps can be taken to fill up these loopholes.
This decision of the BMC was given a nod of approval by BJP but was criticized by Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena. Congress appealed that this matter needs to be referred back because the case of bias against non-vegetarians in Mumbai needs to stop.
The appeal of Congress was backed by representatives of Shiv Sena and NCP but not supported by the BJP. So going by majority opinion, Anant Nar (Bala), Chairperson of the Improvement Committee and a member of Shiv Sena, has decided to refer back the suggestion to the BMC.
Ashraf Azmi, member of Improvement Committee and representative of Congress, said, “Group leader of NCP, Sandeep Deshpande had appealed to the Municipality that builders of Mumbai do not sell flats to people who consume fish or meat, and this biased practice by the concerned builders needs to be stopped by BMC by taking appropriate actions against such practitioners.”
As ways to stop this practice, Sandeep Deshpande suggested methods like stopping the water supply to such a society (building with flats owned by such a biased builder), black listing it, registering the matter through MRP and clear mention of the condition of housing for all, disregarding their diet preferences, in the IOD.
The Improvement Committee studied this suggestion in a meeting this Tuesday and replied that the BMC cannot legally put any restriction on such a builder. So Deshpande suggested that this decision be referred back. The Committee decided to just that on a vote of majority parties.
He added that if such bias is not discouraged by strong action by the BMC then it would lead to deep discord of the communal harmony in the societies. He pointed out that people of multiple religions live together in Mumbai. If they do not accept the practices of different religions then it would be a dent in the secularism of the city.
He told the Municipality, “You can clean up the dirt on the road, but how will you then clean up the dirt that would settle in the hearts?”
The decision of the Committee was hailed by Prakash Gangadhare, BJP member in the Committee and he opposed the suggestion to refer back by Ashraf Azmi, Congress member in Committee.
Shiv Sena representative, Kishori Pednekar said, “We are in the time when we can harvest rain water and use solar energy. Even in this age, differentiating between vegetarians and non-vegetarians is very wrong. Flats and houses should be sold and bought without bias based on religion and caste. And any builder who practices bias against non-vegetarians, strict action should be taken against him.”
NCP Corporator and NCP member Jyoti Haroon Khan supported the decision to take action biased builders and said that builders should publish the list of buyers of their flats and houses for transparency in the matter.”
Samajwadi Party member and representative in the Committee said, “The way rain water harvesting and solar energy use has been mentioned in the IOD, similarly, the condition that no builder can refuse to sell a flat or house to a buyer based on the latter’s religion or diet preferences should be clearly mentioned in the IOD.”
Translated from Inquilab