BMC renews licence of turf club eateries

A legal battle over alleged breach of lease agreement nothwithstanding, BMC has renewed the license of the Royal Western India Turf Club to serve food and drinks at eateries at the 226-acre Mahalaxmi race course.

The civic administration's health department recently renewed the club's food and establishment licence, which expired on December 31, 2012.

Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said, "This matter concerns two separate departments. While the issue of lease is pending with the legal department, the renewal of food license has been done by another department. However, we will check whether the legal matter is connected to serving of food in their restaurants. Technically, it is not wrong to renew the licence."

Aseem Gupta, Additional Municipal Commissoner, told Newsline, "RWITC applied for renewal of licence in December. We have renewed the licence till May this year, after which the lease will officially expire."

RWITC and BMC are engaged in a legal tussle since 2010. The civic administration had served an eviction notice on the club over alleged breaches in the lease agreement. BMC had threatened to terminate the lease of the club for sub-letting part of the land to a third party without permission.

BMC had explained the rights granted by the club to the BJR Group, which runs Gallops restaurant at the members' enclosure of the racecourse as the primary reason for cancellation of the lease. The notice also stated that certain structures in the three restaurants did not have the necessary clearances.

The club currently has restaurants including Tote on the Turf, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Gallops and a mini club for exclusive members, said a civic official.

"We approached the civic administration to renew the licence of our eateries, which expired on December 31. This is an annual procedure according to municipal rules," said a spokesperson from RWITC.

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