Asking the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation when it would implement its decision taken in 2005 to widen a road in Parel, the Bombay High Court Tuesday said the BMC was not helpless and possessed enough power to acquire land required for widening of the road.
A bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was hearing a petition filed by Kiran Shantaram on behalf of the Rajkamal Studio Compound Residents’ Welfare Association seeking BMC to implement its decision to widen Rajkamal Lane for ensuring proper access especially during emergency situations.
The petition stated that several new multistorey buildings were coming up in the area which would compound the situation further.
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“You have power under the law. You (BMC) don’t exercise it which is why litigants come to court. Accessible roads is their right and you have a corresponding duty. The power is in your own hand. Utilise it. We cannot tolerate this. Why are you compounding the problem?” said Justice Dharmadhikari.
The advocate appearing for the BMC said a slum redevelopment scheme was coming up in this area which could lead to issues.
The court asked the BMC to stop passing the buck.
“This is your public street, it is your duty,” said the court.
The present road is 20-foot wide and according to the BMC’s decision, it was supposed to be made 40-foot wide.
“When the decision was taken in 2005, the corporation was aware of a hospital existing nearby and open space available for widening,” said the HC.
The BMC, meanwhile, maintained it could not forcibly acquire land for this project.
“Merely because such establishments are around and not cooperating does not mean the BMC is so helpless and does not possess power. This is a public street and while a decision to widen the road was taken, it was never implemented. The BMC is directed to enlighten us about the same,” said the court.
The court has asked the BMC and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking, which owns land in the area, to file affidavit on steps being taken to implement this decision.