Court raps NMMC for clos­ing its gar­den door to res­i­dents

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com The gar­den next to mayor’s bun­ga­low at Parshik hill.

The mag­nif­i­cent mayor bun­ga­low on Par­sik Hill is once again in the midst of a con­tro­versy.

The Bom­bay high court last Fri­day rep­ri­manded NMMC for not al­low­ing gen­eral pub­lic from en­ter­ing the gar­den de­vel­oped next to it. The is­sue has fur­ther been ag­gra­vated with CIDCO telling the court that the land be­longs to it and that NMMC has not taken any de­vel­op­ment per­mis­sion for it.

A di­vi­sion bench of Jus­tice Shan­tanu Kemkar and Jus­tice Makarand Karnik, is hear­ing a pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion on the is­sue filed by RTI ac­tivist San­deep Thakur.

The case re­veals that NMMC that is go­ing all out against il­le­gal con­struc­tions and en­croach­ments in the city has it­self en­croached up on CIDCO plot where a gar­den has been de­vel­oped by it.

Ac­cord­ing to Thakur, “NMMC has taken plot num­ber 156 and 157 from CIDCO for the con­struc­tion of the mayor bun­ga­low. It had in Oc­to­ber 14, 1997 paid Rs 16.70 lakh for the 1,035 sqm area. There­after the bun­ga­low was con­structed. Gar­dens were then de­vel­oped in front and be­hind the bun­ga­low 10 years back.”

Af­ter Thakur sourced in­for­ma­tion to RTI on the bun­ga­low, star­tling in­for­ma­tion came for­ward.

CIDCO has trans­ferred just plot 156 and 157 to NMMC. How­ever, NMMC has en­croached upon plots 153, 154, 155, 158, 159 and 160 over an around of around 3,200 sqm. CIDCO has stated that it has not trans­ferred these plots to NMMC and that it has en­croached upon it. NMMC too has con­firmed that the plot has not been trans­ferred to it.

NMMC spent Rs1.77 lakh in 2013-14 for de­vel­op­ing the gar­den on CIDCO land. An ad­di­tional Rs9.99 lakh was spent in 2013 for a jog­ging track and other in­fra­struc­ture in the gar­den.

CIDCO had given plot 160 to a com­pany for de­vel­op­ing a res­i­den­tial com­plex. NMMC has re­funded the reg­is­tra­tion charges of Rs 4.49 lakh to the com­pany.

Said Thakur, “NMMC has put up a sign­board out­side the gar­den declar­ing it to be a pub­lic gar­den. How­ever, cit­i­zens are not able to use it. The gar­den has been made out to be a part of the mayor bun­ga­low.”

Even as the is­sue is be­ing de­bated in the court, a num­ber of ques­tions have arisen.

Stated Thakur, “How did NMMC en­croach on the land that does not be­long to it. It is a res­i­den­tial plot that CIDCO wants to sell. It has filed an af­fi­davit with the court stat­ing that the land be­longs to it and it wants sell oth­er­wise it’s bud­get will be dis­turbed.”

Thakur said, “The court has taken NMMC to task over the is­sue ask­ing it to al­low the pub­lic to use it. NMMC had told the court that ac­cess to the gar­den is dis­al­lowed due to se­cu­rity rea­sons.”

He added, “The court has asked NMMC to al­low res­i­dents to use the gar­den till the next hear­ing. It has also asked it to sub­mit to it what it plans to do ahead, al­low res­i­dents or de­mol­ish the gar­den.”

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

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