‘Qatar consulate in Mumbai destroyed valuable artefacts’

June 3rd, 2009 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 3 (IANS) A co-operative society in Mumbai Wednesday alleged that one of its members - Qatar consulate - has destroyed a wall and valuable artefacts of the building and has illegally housed Qatar Airways offices on its premises.
According to Vinod Dalmia, an office-bearer of Bajaj Bhawan Owners’ Premises Co-operative Society Ltd at Nariman Point, south Mumbai, the total damage on account of the Qatar consulate’s actions has been estimated at over Rs.20 million (two crore).

Addressing mediapersons in the premises of the 12-storeyed building, Dalmia said the Qatar consulate, located on the ground floor of the Bajaj Bhawan, next to Hotel Trident-Oberoi, sought the society’s permission for carrying out modifications and to create another entrance for its premises.

“However, within two hours of submitting the request, it went ahead and demolished the wall and damaged a valuable mural and sculptures in the lobby of the building, created by the eminent architect Arzan Khambatta,” Dalmia said.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, the consulate’s spokesperson Mohammed Anwar remained “not reachable” on his cellphone.

However, a consulate staffer, Ahmed Dauliv said he could not comment on the issue and declined further help to get the consulate’s version in the matter.

The workers hired by the consulate demolished a 30 feet-long and 12 feet high wall to construct an additional entrance for its whopping 10,000-square feet premises, Dalmia said.

When the enraged committee members pointed out that as per the law, only the managing committee was authorised to give or reject permission in such cases, the consulate officials said they had secured the necessary clearances from the Mumbai police and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).

“They said they had applied to the MCGM also, and it had stipulated several conditions, including the condition that they must get the permission of the society before carrying out any changes. But the Qatar consulate officials disregarded all our pleas and went ahead with the demolition,” Dalmia said.

Dalmia said the consulate has also gone ahead and prepared a new floor plan and illegally housed the Qatar Airways to operate from the same premises without securing the permission of the society.

In view of the seriousness of the consulate actions, the managing committee members lodged a complaint with the Marine Drive police station May 22, when the building premises were destroyed.

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