A former cultural hotspot in south Mumbai, the Birla Krida Kendra at Girgaum Chowpatty, is likely to make way for a multipurpose jetty soon. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to hand over the land on which the complex stands, to the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) for construction of the jetty. The project is part of MbPT’s master plan to develop the area as a tourist attraction. Currently, the Birla Krida Kendra, which occupies approximately 7,000 square metres, houses a drama theatre, multipurpose halls, and a restaurant.
Once the proposal to build the jetty at Girgaum Chowpatty is approved by the BMC’s improvements committee, the civic body will initiate the process of handing over the land.
As per the master plan, the MbPT will set up a terminal for arrival and departure of passengers, which will include facilities such as washrooms, a storeroom and a restaurant.
The Birla Krida Kendra was once the favoured destination of theatre-lovers, with a regular line-up of plays in several languages. It also hosted functions, performances and concerts. The cultural centre is located on a 6,472 square metre plot at Girgaum Chowpatty and was leased by the state government to the BMC in 1957 for a period of 99 years at an annual rent of Re 1.
“Currently, the theatre is in a damaged condition, the trial rooms are rented out. At the same time, for the ambitious coastal road project, the BMC will require 500 square metres of land from the MbPT. Hence, the BMC will hand over the Birla Krida Kendra plot to MbPT. There will be no need to charge a transfer fee,” a senior civic official said.
According to the proposal, the civic body will hand over 2,791 square metres of land to the MbPT, while the remaining 3,681 square metres will continue to be in BMC’s possession.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner (DMC) Kishore Kshirsagar refused to comment on the issue stating that the civic body was awaiting approval from the improvements committee to kickstart the project.