Illegal business activities without license are rampant in Karswara.

Due to illegal constructions at Karswara Junction, traffic chaos was faced.

Photo credit: Agnello Pereira

At least a dozen businesses, including several restaurants, have been operating illegally at Mapusa’s Karswada Junction for two decades, an investigation has revealed.

These businesses, operating without the necessary trade license from the Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC), are allegedly protected by a BJP-backed councillor.

Unauthorized shops and stalls, mainly located on leased land from Mapusa Comunidade, lack approval not only from the MMC but also from key government departments such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health, fire and electricity authorities.

Despite their illegal status, these establishments continue to operate unabated, causing considerable inconvenience to nearby residents and motorists. The junction is notorious for daily traffic jams, especially during peak hours, due to heavy vehicular movement.

Information obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act confirms that the MMC has not issued trading licenses to the following establishments at the junction: Siddhi Hotel, Zam Zam Plato Restaurant, Shreesha’s Urban Sagadhi. Restaurant, Sahil Plato Fast Food, Rajkumar Fabricators, Manyar Traders, Royal Interior Furniture, Shree Ganesh Raika Sweet Mart, Hair Cutting Salon, Ramdao Electricals & Plumbing Hardware, and Saiban Mobile Repairing & Accessories.

A decade ago, former MMC chief officer Raju Gowas had launched a crackdown on these illegal structures, leading to the demolition of several units. However, the demolition was stopped due to alleged political influence of the councilor concerned. The collapsed structure was later rebuilt, and business activities resumed.

Sources say that most of the unauthorized shops and stalls are owned by councilors who have handed them over to different people to run their businesses. This arrangement has perpetuated illegal activities, supporting a thriving black market economy at the expense of legitimate business practices and public order.

Atmaram Gadekar, a resident of Varla Kanka, has taken a stand against this blatant disregard for the law. In a letter to the Director Municipal Administration and the MMC Chief Officer, Goodekar urged for immediate action to ensure that these institutions either get the requisite trade licenses or shut down their operations. He highlighted the alleged involvement of some council officials and councilors in collecting protection money, which has allowed these businesses to operate with impunity.

“Despite clear violations of the law, business activities are flourishing due to the alleged involvement of some council officials and councilors who are allegedly embezzling the protection money. Corruption and Accountability ,” Goodekar said in his complaint.

When contacted for comment on the matter, senior civic officials remained silent. The ongoing situation at Karswada Junction in Mapusa is a stark reminder of the challenges in enforcing local government regulations and tackling corruption.

The rampant growth of the illegal business, facilitated by political patronage, continues to disrupt the lives of residents and the daily commute of motorists, highlighting the urgent need for accountability and effective governance in the region.of theof the

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