Ambed­kar me­mo­rial: Sena says fi­nan­cial is­sues be­hind NCP de­mand

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Shiv Sena which had gone soft on mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Tukaram Mundhe, dur­ing the dis­cus­sion on de­mand for mar­ble cladding of Dr Babasa­heb Ambed­kar Me­mo­rial in Airoli, says there are fi­nan­cial is­sues be­hind the de­mand for mar­ble­cladding by the NCP.

While a cou­ple of Shiv Sena cor­po­ra­tors had joined the NCP and the Congress in cas­ti­gat­ing Mundhe for can­celling the pro­posal and opt­ing for paint­ing of the dome of the me­mo­rial, top Shiv Sena lead­ers, in­clud­ing op­po­si­tion leader Vi­jay Chougule and MK Mad­hvi, among oth­ers, did not have a go at Mundhe.

Mad­hvi said, “We too want mar­ble-cladding for the dome. The me­mo­rial for the ar­chi­tect of the con­sti­tu­tion should be a land­mark un­like any other. Cost can­not be a fac­tor in it.”

He said, “How­ever, there is cer­tainly more to the NCP de­mand than what it is claim­ing to be. There are ma­jor fi­nan­cial is­sues here. It is in­deed sur­pris­ing that the rul­ing party got a Congress cor­po­ra­tor to raise the is­sue through a call­ing at­ten­tion mo­tion in the house. Why did they not have the guts to do it them­selves?”

Claim­ing lack of trans­parency in the project, Mad­hvi said, “There is no clar­ity about the area of work, the cost fac­tor etc. A sim­ple pro­posal stat­ing the mar­ble-cladding work will cost Rs 19 crore had been in­tro­duced in the house ear­lier and was passed. No de­tails had been given. The project has been much de­layed. The rul­ing party lead­ers de­clared sev­eral dates for com­ple­tion of work. No action was even taken against any­one for the de­lay.”

Stated Mad­hvi, “First of all there is an is­sue with the avail­abil­ity in Ra­jasthan, of the qual­ity of mar­ble that is pro­posed to be used in the project. There is a pos­si­bil­ity of sec­onds be­ing used or the mar­ble be­ing im­ported, which can­not be of the same qual­ity.”

He added, “If the cost of the mar­ble is taken into con­sid­er­a­tion at a higher level, add to it the other raw ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion cost, the max­i­mum cost will work out to Rs2000. While the area of work is not be­ing dis­closed, the mayor did dur­ing the dis­cus­sion re­veal that it was 5,000 sqft area. The to­tal cost works out to just Rs 1 crore. Even if you dou­ble the cost, it will be Rs 2 crore.”

The PWP or­gan­ised a protest in Uran on Wed­nes­day at which the in­tent let­ters for 12.5% land, given by prime min­is­ter Modi two years ago to the JNPT project-af­fected peo­ple (PAP) were burnt. The PAP are yet to get pos­ses­sion of the promised land.

The protest was led by PWP taluka sec­re­tary Ma­hadev Gharat at Karal Phata.

The PAP have been fight­ing for the past 27 years over the much-de­layed hand­ing over the plots which are com­pen­sa­tion for the land sur­ren­dered by them to JNPT.

While the UPA gov­ern­ment had failed to re­solve the is­sue, the present gov­ern­ment af­ter tak­ing over, had as­sured that the mat­ter will be re­solved within 6 months.

On Au­gust 16, 2014, prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, who had come to JNPT for the in­au­gu­ra­tion of port based SEZ project, had handed over let­ters to some PAPs stat­ing that they were be­ing al­lot­ted plot un­der 12.5% scheme.

JNPT had then as­sured the PAP that 111 hectares of land will be dis­trib­uted to them within six months.

While there was ini­tial eu­pho­ria over the al­lot­ment, the PAP said that they soon re­alised that they had been taken for a ride. The let­ter did not men­tion any de­tail of the plot or the time frame for al­lot­ment. The PAP also found out that a large part of the land came un­der CRZ zone and hence could not be devel­oped. They have since been al­leg­ing that JNPT has cheated them.

Gharat said, “The PAP are up­set with JNPT, the state gov­ern­ment and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, as their hopes have been dashed. De­spite re­peated as­sur­ances, they have not yet got their land. Our strug­gle is now peak­ing.”

Last year, Uran Utkarsh Samiti pres­i­dent Gopal Patil had or­gan­ised a protest ‘shraddh’ of the in­tent let­ters. A black flag protest was also or­gan­ised dur­ing Modi’s visit last year.

Ear­lier this year, JNPT had iden­ti­fied a sep­a­rate piece of land for al­lot­ment to the pro­jectaf­fected un­der the 12.5% land al­lot­ment scheme.

The land that had ear­lier been ear­marked for the PAPs had run into trou­ble over CRZ is­sues. The PAP have ob­jected to the present plans stat­ing that they are be­ing cheated by JNPT.

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