Malabar Hill bungalow atop water tank continues to be reallocated

Mumbai: A bungalow sitting on top of a 136-year-old reservoir in Malabar Hill was to be demolished because the reservoir needed urgent repairs, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. However, plans to refurbish this vital reservoir, which supplies drinking water to most parts of South Mumbai have apparently gone down the drain.

Urgent reservoir repair was the reason given to the occupants of the bungalow, then secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, Pravin Darade and his wife Pallavi Darade, to vacate the premises. But the bungalow continues to stand and has been reallocated to the same couple since the husband has replaced the wife in the BMC as Additional Municipal Commissioner (AMC).

A civic official told The Free Press Journal that the reservoir is in dire need of repairs, but with the reallocation, it would be difficult for them to go ahead with the project. “The reservoir has five compartments, each of which will be repaired separately. But right now, due to certain constraints, we are unable to schedule the repair of the compartment under this bungalow,” said the civic official.

A compartment of the reservoir is directly below the bungalow and the AMC had refused to vacate it despite three notices by the BMC. Now with Pravin Darade’s appointment as an AMC last week, the repair work might be scrapped altogether.  The bungalow has been occupied by the Darades since 2014. Darade was allotted the bungalow by the state government when he was a secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and his wife, Pallavi Darade, was an AMC. However, Darade had refused to vacate the bungalow even after the transfer of Pallavi Darade as head of the Food and Drugs Authority in 2017 and the Shiv Sena had demanded the bungalow be allotted to the mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar.

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