Over 350 people protested Sunday outside the gates of Bhau Daji Lad museum, Byculla, in opposition to the civic-body’s nod to extend the museum and utilise two open ground plots for developing the museum.
The protest, led by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), saw participation of residents of Byculla area with several shouting the slogan, “Maidan hamara, na kisi ka (It is our ground, not anyone else’s).”
The protest, that started at noon, continued for 45 minutes. MNS member Sanjay Naik said, “Between Mazgaon and Byculla, this is the only open ground for children to play. There is one other ground in Dockyard and another in Kala Chowki. Since the area near the museum is reserved as open space, the museum cannot use it for construction.” The protest was peaceful and no arrests were made.
According to Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, honorary museum director, the space will be beautified to be converted into a museum garden and no parking lot will be constructed there in accordance with the rules laid down for open spaces. “We won’t be violating any rules in doing so,” Mehta said.
The expansion plan of the museum recently ran into controversy after the civic body accepted to allow construction of a new building, which will have a museum, exhibition hall, conference hall and art gallery along with a cafe, as the part of the new wing of the museum.
According to MNS, the move will lead to a space crunch in the already crowded areas in Byculla with no place for children to play.