Allow other sports too at Mahalaxmi racecourse,says corporation

The high profile grounds of Mahalaxmi racecourse may soon be open to sports other than equestrian events.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 18, 2009 4:17:11 am

The high profile grounds of Mahalaxmi racecourse may soon be open to sports other than equestrian events. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) to open the premises of the racecourse for the ‘greater good of the public and allow more sports activities.’

In a meeting between the RWITC and civic officials the latter asked for the opening up of the racecourse for residents. Joint municipal commissioner,V Radha said that there were various clauses in the original lease which RWITC has not agreed to. “We have accordingly,told them to extend the timings of the garden,allow more children to visit the grounds and see if other sporting activities can be held there,” she said.

Vivek Jain,chairman,media and marketing committee,said that as per the demands of the civic body the ground will be open to public. “For the greater good of the public BMC has asked to make the premises accessible to the common man and the two gardens for the children. We will see how this can be done and soon submit a proposal,” he said.

The RWITC is currently embroiled in a dispute with the BMC for breaching terms of the lease with regard to the Gallops Restaurant and unauthorised construction at the two other eateries- Olive and Indigo. Considering that the RWITC’s lease ends in 2013 it is keen on agreeing to the civic body’s proposal for the racecourse. The ruling Shiv Sena wants the civic administration to take the ownership of the plot and terminate the lease agreement.

Jain said they have asked the BMC to pass an order on all the three restaurants. “We are ready to follow the order even if that means demolishing the structures or regularising them,” he said.

RWITC has also said it is willing to consider the proposal of the civic body and the Mumbai Traffic Police’s proposal to construct a flyover over the racecourse. The proposed 1.5-kilometre elevated corridor starting from NSCI junction at Hornby Vellard Road will meet King George Beggar’s Home at Haines Road and ease traffic flow on Dr Annie Besant Road and Haji Ali junction. The flyover is expected to decongest traffic following the opening of Bandra—Worli sea link.

The civic road department has said that till now it has not received any written communication from the traffic police and has no plans or designs for the flyover. “Once a formal proposal comes we will study the feasibility and plan the design,” a senior civic official said.

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