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  Will Aditya Thackeray fall short of his goal

Will Aditya Thackeray fall short of his goal

Published : Aug 24, 2016, 2:04 am IST
Updated : Aug 24, 2016, 2:04 am IST

Yuva Sena chief and Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) chairman Aditya Thackeray’s ambitious initiative to build a football ground at Bandra Reclamation has run into controversy.

File photo of Jai, the tiger
 File photo of Jai, the tiger

Yuva Sena chief and Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) chairman Aditya Thackeray’s ambitious initiative to build a football ground at Bandra Reclamation has run into controversy.

Locals have filed a complaint to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) regarding the work being carried out on the ground. As a result, the work of levelling the ground has been stopped for the time being.

The complainants have claimed that the plot on which the football field is coming up is yet to be demarcated by the Special Planning Authority (SPA) of the Development Plan 2034.

The MDFA claims that the piece of land was allotted to them by the MMRDA before the SPA came into existence. But a layout plan issued by the MMRDA shows that the land and the surrounding area is reserved for social causes, and not specifically for a playground.

According to the complainant, Bandra resident Mohammad Furqan Qureshi, as per the draft DP 2034, the plot on which MDFA has been carrying out levelling work since the start of the year is part of the larger area that was transferred to the BMC by the MMRDA in November last year to be included in the DP. The plot was named ‘Block A’ under the SPA. “The draft DP shows the entire Block A to be reserved for the purpose of a playground, graveyard, officers’ quarters and a public facility. The plan does not demarcate any plot for any of the four reservations. It implies that MDFA has resorted to land-grabbing and started development work. I complained to the BMC and MMRDA about this on July 30 and, since then, the work has stopped,” said Mr Qureshi.

Mr Thackeray did not respond to calls, messages or even a query sent via email. The Asian Age spoke to MDFA secretary Udayaan Banerjee, who said, “Mr Thackeray has got the plot allotted from MMRDA and hence there is no controversy in it. Work on levelling the land has stopped due to the heavy rains and will begin once the rains subside.”

When asked whether any part of Block A had been allotted to anyone, Rama Nath Jha, officer on special duty, revised DP, said, “The BMC has not yet prepared a DP for Block A and has declared its intention to prepare the DP under section 23 of the MRTP Act 1966. The procedure for it will be started now.”

When asked about the status of the plot concerned, revised DP officer Vivek More said, “A notification in January 2016 has mentioned that any plot allotted by the MMRDA, before Block A was handed over to MCGM, would continue to vest with the allottee. It could be possible that the plot was allotted to MDFA by MMRDA, but we are unaware of it,” Mr More said.

Mr Qureshi, however, said, “It seems that just because there is a mention of a playground, MDFA has taken over the plot and started developing it so that when the SPA starts allotment, they can claim it. If that is the case, we will go and bury a dead person at the site and then ask the SPA to give that land to us as the draft DP also mentions reservation for a graveyard.”