THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated the process of taking back a plot of land adjoining the Mayor’s Bungalow in Shivaji Park, Dadar, for the Balasaheb Thackeray memorial. The G-North Ward office of the BMC will issue a notice to The Keraleeya Mahila Samaj trust in the coming week asking them to vacate the plot in 30 days.
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Civic officials said that the process of taking back the plot has started as per directions given by high-powered committee set up by the state government to oversee the plans for the Thackeray Memorial. The plot, adjoining the Mayor’s Bungalow, measuring 574 sq metres, was given on vacant land tenancy (VLT) to the trust on May 2, 1953. Out of 574 sq metres, around 81.16 sq mt area is constructed area, in which the trust runs a nursery school, instrumental music classes, Bharata Natyam and yoga classes.
Officials said this plot can be used as an office for the Thackeray memorial as no construction can be carried out in the Mayor’s Bungalow, a heritage site. “A notice will be served to the trust in the next 2-3 days,” Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner of G North Ward, told The Indian Express.
An official said that civic body can take back plots given on VLT at any time. “The trust will be given alternative place to run their activities. We have zeroed in on the Paras Gopal building on Matkar Marg near Dadar railway station. We will give the exact same area to the trust. We hope that they will agree to vacate the current plot and will shift to the other building since it is a government decision,” added the official.
Another civic official said in 2012 an attempt was made to get the plot vacated. “The then mayor had asked us to get plot vacated as he wanted to start an office there. But the trust approached the then governor who stayed the matter,” the official added. Officials from the Keraleeya Mahila Samaj trust were unavailable for comments.
Last month, the BMC had written to the state seeking details of the public trust to look after the memorial in order to hand over the Mayor’s Bungalow. On the occasion of the third death anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray in November last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made an announcement that the memorial would be housed in the Mayor’s Bungalow. A public trust headed by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will look after it.