Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday approved the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) proposal to appoint it as the special planning authority (SPA) for the Kalina campus of Mumbai University (MU).
While the proposal still needs to be cleared by the state government’s urban development department, it is being perceived as the BJP-led state government’s attempt at taking the sprawling campus out of the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) jurisdiction. This could mean, another green lung in the city will be left out of Mumbai’s Development Plan (DP).
The MMRDA had proposed appointment of an SPA to develop the MU campus. The campus in Kalina, spread over 220 acres with a substantial green cover, now falls in BMC’s jurisdiction. On Wednesday, in an executive meeting, the MMRDA sought approval for its plan, which was granted by Fadnavis.
A senior MMRDA official said, “We are constructing two roads. A 2-km-long elevated road connecting BKC and Hans Bhugra Marg and the other a 690-m road to facilitate entry/exit from and to BKC, the construction of which will require some land owned by the university. The MMRDA is expected to bear the cost, Rs 51 crore, of the project. The total estimated cost for developing the Kalina campus is nearly Rs 107 crore.
BMC sources said if the MMRDA gets the right of SPA for developing the Kalina campus, then another major plot of land in the city would be excluded from the DP. BJP’s ally Shiv Sena is likely to oppose the plan. A Sena source said, “The BJP wants to curb the BMC’s power because the Sena controls the BMC.”
A senior BMC official said the state government was keen to reduce the total area under BMC’s control. “That’s why it has made so many special planning authorities in the city,” he said.
Recently, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) got rights as the SPA for its 114 layouts. After this, the state government declared the MMRDA as the SPA for the areas proposed for Metro corridors. According to the official, in a recent move, the government gave the go-ahead to the Mumbai Port Trust as the individual planning authority
for 960 hectares of land under the BMC.