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‘Discrepancies’ in the Development Plan (DP) reservations continue to haunt many. This time, the trust of the Mount Mary Basilica in Bandra, a grade II heritage structure, has complained that the iconic staircase of the church and an open space outside have been reserved as playground and recreation ground in the DP 2034. The church trust, which submitted its objection six months back, has now sought help from local BJP MLA Ashish Shelar. The trust alleged that despite submitting the objection in time, no correction has been made by the BMC’s planning committee, yet.
“The trust had protested and submitted its objections to the planning committee for correcting the erroneous reservation. However, the draft DP 2034 was approved by the general body of the civic body and sent to the state government without any correction,” said senior lawyer Joaquim Reis, a representative of the parish.
“After the error was not corrected, the Bishop, agitated trust members and locals approached me four days ago. The open space that is erroneously reserved as a playground is used by the church for conducting mass for decades. Since the matter will now be resolved at the level of the state urban development department, I have written to the chief minister highlighting the issue. CM Devendra Fadnavis has directed the principal secretary Urban Development department to look into the matter,” said Shelar.
A BMC executive engineer (DP) said, “Suggestions and objections, those incorporated and those not, have already been published on the website. If the trust submitted the objection in time it would have been looked into, if not the matter is under consideration of the state government.” When contacted, principal Secretary of UDD Nitin Kareer said he was unaware about the issue. “The letter must have been submitted to the CM. It has not reached us yet. We will look into the matter once we get it.”
This is not the first time such an ‘error’ in DP reservation has been pointed out. In 2015, it came to light that under the draft DP, the BMC had proposed to construct a public road over the steps of the church where the popular Bandra fair is held. The locals had then protested.