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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Won’t give an inch in South Mumbai for Navy housing, ‘go to the Pakistan border’, says Nitin Gadkari

Gadkari's public displeasure comes in the backdrop of the Navy declining permission for building a floating jetty at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, where a floating hotel and seaplane service are planned.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: January 12, 2018 7:19:26 am
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (Express File Photo)

REACTING SHARPLY to the Navy’s objections over the construction of a floating jetty at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said Thursday that he will “never give an inch” of land to the force in the area, and asked Naval officials to “go to the Pakistan border”.

Speaking at an event in Mumbai, in the presence of Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Commander-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, Gadkari said, “When they come to me asking for land in south Mumbai, I will never give an inch. Everyone wants to have houses and quarters in south Mumbai. Why should they live in south Mumbai? Why can’t they go to the Pakistan border, which they patrol?”

Gadkari was referring to the Navy asking the Mumbai Port Trust for land in south Mumbai for operations and housing its staff. Vice Admiral Luthra had written to the port trust on this issue in December 2016.

Gadkari also urged the Maharashtra government to bring projects to the central government instead of waiting for clearance from the defence ministry. “We are the government, bring the projects to us,” he said, while speaking at the event for laying the foundation stone for an international cruise terminal in Mumbai port.

Nitin Gadkari, Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai on Thursday. (Express Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

This week, the Bombay High Court denied clearance for the construction of a floating hotel and jetty at Nariman Point, dismissing a petition filed by the developer, Rashmi Development Pvt Ltd. The firm had challenged the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s denial of permission with the Navy stating that safety and security issues need to be considered before giving its go-ahead.

“The floating jetty in Malabar Hill has been stalled by the Navy. There is no Navy in Malabar Hill, so they had no right to deny permission. Their job is only to protect our borders from terrorists,” said Gadkari.

Gadkari also accused the National Green Tribunal and environmental activists for stalling key infrastructure projects in the city. “Environmentalists are a microscopic minority in Mumbai. They tried to stop the Bandra-Worli sea Link when I was a minister here,” he claimed.

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