It looks like Bal Thackeray’s adherents will have to wait to pay regards at his memorial. Inauguration of the Shiv Sena supremo’s garden memorial at Shivaji Park, slated to coincide with the party’s Foundation Day on June 19, will only be possible after receiving the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) permission to construct railings on the green patch.
The proposal to erect railings at the garden, an afterthought to the original plan passed by the BMC, has been pending with the CRZ for one month, and unless that happens, the memorial will not be unveiled. The administration claims that the garden is almost ready, and it is up to the BMC ruling party to decide its opening date.
However, the Mahalaxmi Racecourse lease issue has hogged the Sena’s attention away from the monument and taken priority, and follow-up with the CRZ has taken a backseat. The condition in which the plot currently is would be an issue for most Thackeray followers, as there is no one to guard the unfenced plot after the BMC’s garden department finished work on it. The Sena now wants to alter the approved plan to include the railings, in order to keep away drifters and preserve the calm environs.
Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu of the Shiv Sena said, “We are hopeful of inaugurating the garden, which will be named after Balasaheb on the Foundation Day of our party, if the CRZ permissions are received on time. If they are not, we will have to defer the opening to a later date.’ He added, “Permission to install grills at the boundary of the plot is pending with the CRZ. The grill will keep people from entering the premises and will help maintain the place’s serenity.”
Deputy superintendent of gardens, V Hire, said, “The work on this garden was completed a few months back. We have done our part. Some civil work like fixing the railings is pending, which will be done after getting the CRZ approval.” The memorial, constructed in less than two months at a cost of Rs 6 lakh by the civic body, comprises a clay structure of approximately 5x8 sq mt, surrounded by a garden with a lawn and shrubs, on a 40x20 sq m plot. The plan passed by the municipal commissioner clearly states that no civil structure can be built on the plot.