The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) yesterday demolished alleged illegal alterations at the ashram of self-styled godman Asaram located on the banks of the Godavari river in Gangapur Road area of the city. The demolition of unauthorised structures that fall in the flood line of the river was part of a drive launched by NMC Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe, senior NMC officers said today. “The civic chief has launched a drive against 166 lawn resorts for unauthorised constructions made by them that fall in the river flood line,” said Additional Commissioner (City) Kishor Borde and Deputy Commissioner R M Bahiram.
Owners of at least two such lawn resorts located adjacent to the ashram had removed the encroachments on their own, they said. “The anti-encroachment squads of the NMC comprising officials and workers reached the Asaram ashram with JCB machines last afternoon. Local police had provided adequate security for the operation,” Borde said. “We demolisheda 2 X 2 metre room, a 60 X 20 metre shed, a 15 X 10 metre brickbat construction and a tin shed of a stall, besides some other sheds in the ashram,” Borde said.
Even as the civic body was razing the illegal structures on the ashram premises, the management rushed to a local court seeking stay on the action, sources in the civic body said. However, by the time the court granted stay till May 28, the civic body had removed most of the encroachments on the ashram premises, they said.
An NMC official said the civic body had served demolition notices on the ashram and two lawn resorts some days back stating that the constructions made by them fall in the river flood line and are illegal. The drive against the encroachments made by resort lawns located on Gangapur Road continued today as well. A Jodhpur court last month sentenced Asaram (77) to life in prison after finding him guilty of raping a teenage girl in his ashram five years ago.