Mumbai: After Samovar Cafe at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Kala Ghoda was closed after a court order, Cafe Mondegar, another iconic watering hole, now faces closure.
TheÂ restaurantÂ and pub is among the 23 tenants of theÂ MetroÂ HouseÂ in Colaba which was issued a lease termination letter byÂ MumbaiÂ Port Trust (MbPT) in November last year for violation of lease norms.
The occupants of theÂ building, including Cafe Mondegar, were givenÂ timeÂ to vacate the property, and the deadline ends onÂ Sunday, April 19.
The eviction notice, served on November 19, 2014, says that the lessee of theÂ building,Â MetroÂ HouseÂ PvtLtd, has broken every possible term of the lease, including multiple instances of illegal subletting and alterations, unauthorised constructions of mezzanine floors, lofts, and installation ofÂ mobileÂ towers, besides unpaid rent,Â serviceÂ tax and interest.
The MbPT has also slapped a compensation demand of Rs 76,16,537 (including interest,Â serviceÂ tax) which was supposed to be paid by the tenants within one month after they received the notice.
Cafe Mondegar, or Mondyâ€™s, as fondly termed byÂ mostÂ Mumbaikars, is located at the tip of the famous Colaba Causeway, knownÂ todayÂ as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road.
MetroÂ House, theÂ buildingÂ that houses Cafe Mondegar and 22 other tenants, datesÂ backto 1870 and is located on a plot of around 1,457 sq. m owned by the MbPT.
Cafe Mondegar, a landmark in SouthÂ Mumbai, was established by Iranians in 1871 and is run by Hoshang Yazdegardi, son of owner Rusi Yazdegardi.
It isÂ bestÂ remembered for the painted murals on each of its walls, and for being the firstÂ restaurantÂ to introduce draught beer. The paintings are by late veteran cartoonist Mario Miranda, depictingÂ lifeÂ inÂ MumbaiÂ city.
Apart from Cafe Mondegar, the other 22 occupants of theÂ buildingÂ include Hardcastle Restaurants (which operates a McDonaldâ€™s outlet on the premises), Hotel Regal Plaza andÂ MetroÂ Shoes,Â allÂ of whom have been served eviction notices.
MumbaiÂ Port Trust chairman Ravi Parmar said, â€œWe have served a notice terminating the lease ofÂ MetroÂ House. After the notice period expires onÂ April 19, we will start eviction procedure.â€
â€œThese are common procedures where we serve notices to tenants for violating the lease agreement. Itâ€™s not about iconic places; it is about violating norms. MbPT had once even issued an eviction notice to theÂ TajÂ Mahal Hotel in 2012 after its 99-year lease expired in 2001-02. Notice is the first step; the case later goes to the court of assets officer and for a final order. WeÂ giveÂ enoughÂ timeÂ to the tenants to move court andÂ get stay to the eviction notice.â€