Mumbai: Singed by corruption charges, Shiv Sena backs acquiring Kurla plot for parkhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-singed-by-corruption-charges-shiv-sena-backs-acquiring-kurla-plot-for-park-5492747/

Mumbai: Singed by corruption charges, Shiv Sena backs acquiring Kurla plot for park

Earlier, Sena corporator Anant Nar had made a suggestion not to acquire the plot because it was encroached upon.

BMC, Park in Kurla Kajupada locality, shiv Sena, Mayor Vishwanath Mahades, Maharashtra, Indian Express, 
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. (Source: File Photo)

FOLLOWING A controversy over the BMC not acquiring a plot reserved for a park in Kurla’s Kajupada locality, an embarrassed and cornered Shiv Sena on Thursday alleged that Opposition corporators had also agreed to remove the reservation from the plot, making it available for commercial development.

This comes on a day when the Sena changed its stand on acquiring the plot for a park with Mayor Vishwanath Mahades-hwar clearing the proposal to acquire the 3,000 sq m plot in Kajupada at the general body meeting on Thursday.

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Lack of planned execution plagues reserved plots

LOST IN the politics over the Shiv Sena’s reluctance to acquire the Kurla plot for a park is the larger question of Mumbai’s proposed public amenities not being developed. The plot is only one in several hundred similar ones across the city and suburbs not being acquired for parks, recreation grounds, municipal clinics and more. This plot was reserved for a park in the 1991-2001 Development Plan (DP), and is still reserved in DP-2034. The BMC develops these amenities by compensating affected landowners through floor space index and transferable development rights. But not even a quarter of the amenities that the 1991 DP envisaged through such reservations were ever developed, with dereservation of plots and a paucity of funds blamed. To ensure that DP-2034 fares better, a planned implementation of the proposed reservations would be required.

Earlier, Sena corporator Anant Nar had made a suggestion not to acquire the plot because it was encroached upon. The Opposition subsequently alleged that Lande’s vested interest led to the BMC losing the plot.

Sena leader and Improvements Committee chairman Dilip Lande, whose house stands on the plot and is now facing allegation of allowing the plot to slip into a private developer’s hands, claimed that in 2017, Congress corporator Ravi Raja and Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Shaikh had also signed on a proposal to change the reservation on this plot, among other plots.

Lande, who has been accused of favouring a builder, said his house has been standing on the plot before the reservation was marked in the 1991 Development Plan (DP).

“My house was constructed in 1980 and the original owner of the land had given space for another 63 houses. The owner had sold this land to another person and that second person wanted to develop it under SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority).

Later, he found it was not possible to develop a high-rise because the land is in the airport funnel zone. After that, owner had sent a purchase notice to the BMC.”

He claimed the Opposition is now playing “dirty politics” and those levelling corruption charges had themselves agreed to remove the reservation from the plot while finalising the DP-2034. “Ravi Raja and Rais Shaikh both have signed the proposal.”

Raja and Shaikh refuted the charge and claimed that the proposal document that the Sena showed, claiming that it has their signatures, is actually the attendance sheet of the general body meeting.

“The Sena is distracting from the demand for Lande’s resignation. Why has the Sena changed its stand now? I have not signed any such individual proposal for a Kurla plot,” said Raja. He added that the proposal that Lande is referring to was sent to the urban development department in 2017 but it refused to delete the reservation.

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Shaikh said, “I have not signed any such paper on change of reservation. This is an absolutely false allegation.”