Tussle over open gym continues as Rane’s NGO opens food stall

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Controversy surrounding the open air gym at the Marine Drive promenade inaugurated last week by Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray refuses to die down, with Swabhiman Sangathana, an NGO led by Congress MLA Nitesh Rane, on Wednesday opening a vada-pav stall near the fitness station.

Rane had reportedly threatened to put up this stall next to the gym in protest against the permission given to it.

The food stall, which opened this morning, started serving vada-pavs and kombadi-vade, a non-veg delicacy from the Konkan region of Maharashtra and a number of customers were seen buying the eatables throughout the day.

The sign-board on the handcart that sells the food items, reads ‘Swabhiman Vada ani Kombdi Vade’ and also carries a line, which calls it an initiative solely for the Marathi people.

The open air fitness station installed by actor Dino Morea on the Marine Drive last Wednesday, was inaugurated by Aaditya Thackeray and actor Jacqueline Fernandes.

However, the next day Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers had reportedly dismantled it saying it was illegal. But, they put it back together on learning that permissions were in order.

Rane had jumped into the controversy stating that his NGO would start a vada-pav stall near the gym.

Mumbai NCP had also said it would set up self-help group stalls on the famed promenade if the gymnasium was not removed.

Congress had alleged although it had sought permission for the installation of a similar fitness station in 2013, the then municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte had denied it stating that no temporary or permanent structure could be erected on the promenade.

Despite repeated attempts, Swabhiman Sanghatana office-bearers as well as BMC officials could not be contacted over the development.