Why environment court has halted demolition of Oshwal Centre
The planned demolition of the Shree Visa Oshwal Community Centre in Westlands remains on hold after the community filed a case challenging it.
Appearing before Justice Bernard Eboso on Wednesday, the community’s lawyer, Mr Elijah Mwangi, said they had been served with a notice to “stop further illegal occupation” of the land and remove the properties erected on top of the river.
Mr Mwangi said the county government has already concluded that the centre should be demolished, through the notice dated July 11, 2018.
Justice Eboso directed the attorney-general to file his response and submissions before the hearing on September 5.
The community is apprehensive that the county government and National Youth Service officers are likely to forcibly enter the property and demolish the buildings on it.
APPROVED BY CITY COUNCIL
He pointed out that the community has erected a massive complex comprising a temple, a library, auditorium and other facilities on the property, all of which were approved by the defunct City Council.
They even got approvals to re-route the sewers and canals. The City Council gave them a certificate of occupancy on October 23,2007.
The lawyer noted that the community has been using the property for religious, cultural and social functions for the past 14 years.
The community claimed that the commissioner of lands had authorised them to use the property for educational, religious and community purposes.
Documents filed in court show that the community has a 99-year lease for the property from August 1, 1985, and that the title permits them to use the property as permitted therein.
Mr Jint Shah, the community’s acting chairman, said unless the court certifies the case as urgent and stops the demolition, its members will be adversely affected.