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BMC Wants to demolish contested toilet block near Bhikha Behram Well

The much-contested toilet block, built almost 15 years ago near the Bhikha Behram well at Churchgate, will be demolished so that the facility does not block views of the newly restored garden at Cross Maidan, municipal officials have said.

By Sudhir Suryawanshi & Manoj R Nair | DNA

Milind Sawant, deputy municipal commissioner (Zone-I), said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to remove the toilet, because the Rotary Club that constructed the toilet does not exist anymore. But the BMC will need the approval of the Bombay high court (HC) because the dispute over its location is still being heard by the court.

The urinal was built by the Rotary Club of Bombay Sunrise in 1996 but was never used because the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) and the Bhikha Behram Well trust petitioned the HC, saying that sewage from the toilet could contaminate waters of the sacred well. When the HC did not stay the urinal’s inauguration, the matter went to the Supreme Court. The apex court stayed the construction of the toilet and sent the matter back to the high court.

Since then, the Rotary Club of Bombay Sunrise has become defunct. The OVAL Trust, which recently converted a derelict section of Cross Maidan into a garden, has said that the toilet block is an eyesore and should be demolished.Last week, residents of the area, including members of OVAL Trust, met senior municipal officers to discuss the demolition.

Sawant said, “At the request of the Oval Ground Residents Association and Parsi Punchayet, we have decided to remove the toilet. Visitors and passersby will have a better view of the garden. The demolition will also protect the sanctity of the Parsi well.”

The OVAL Trust has been saying that the toilet block should go as it is illegal. Nayana Kathpalia of OVAL Trust said, “The construction of the toilet block was not approved by the heritage committee. The heritage committee has said that it should be demolished.”