A Youth Congress leader from Mangaluru who is reportedly close to a minister in the state government has built a restaurant on a beach, allegedly in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules.
Mithun Rai, the Dakshina Kannada district Youth Congress president has built a restaurant, the construction of which is not yet complete, on the Panambur Beach in Mangaluru. He has denied any violation of CRZ Rules.
Under Coastal Regulation Rules, permanent structures within 200 metres of the high tide line are prohibited. A relaxation has been provided for construction of temporary structures for the promotion of tourism.
Panambur Beach has been opened up for tourism related work to local private players. The restaurant can be accessed both from the beach itself, and also from a road adjacent to the parking area of the beach.
Rai told The News Minute that a 2km stretch of beach had been leased to Jyoti Advertisers, from whom he had â€ślawfullyâ€ť sub-leased 30 cents of land for his restaurant, which has not yet been named.
Photos of the restaurant show that the building has been constructed with red stone bricks, a common building material sourced from local stone quarries along the western coast.
A view of the restaurant owned by Mithun Rai
Rai claimed that he had begun construction only after obtaining the lease from the department of tourism and that the Deputy Commissioner of the district had recently visited the site as he had applied for a No Objection Certificate from the CRZ committee which was headed by the DC.
Mangaluru-based State President of the DYFI Muneer Katipalla alleged that Rai has not been given clearance by the Coastal Development Authority. â€śIf it is a temporary structure as he claims, why has it taken a year to build? A restaurant like that will take crores of rupees to build,â€ť he said.
The bar counter at the restaurant owned by Mithun Rai. The wall behind the counter appears to be made of red stone.
Rai confirmed that the structure had been under construction for around a year.
Despite repeated attempts, the Coastal Development Authority in Mangaluru could not be contacted.
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner AB Ibrahim inspected the site on Thursday and told The News Minute that he had visited the site and that investigation was on into whether the necessary permits and clearances had been obtained or not. He said that four cottages which were built adjacent to the restaurant were temporary structures. The four cottages are owned by another person.
Deputy Commissioner AB Ibrahim inspecting the cottages on Panambur Beach
For the last few years, local people have watched two commercial entities â€“ a project of four cottages and Raiâ€™s restaurant â€“ come up on the beach with dismay.
For several years, since the CRZ Rules were enforced, houses of people living close to the sea, especially those of fishing communities, have been denied all kinds of documents, especially door numbers as they are in violation of CRZ rules. Even repairs in existing houses are not allowed.