BMC ready to hand over racecourse land for heliport

Civic officials tell State government that they are happy to give away 58,800 square metres of land even as CM says a heliport is “the need of the hour”

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has conveyed to the State government that it is willing to spare 58,800 square metre land for the construction of a heliport at the Mahalaxmi Race Course.

The state had asked for 80,000 sqm or 19 acres of space for an all-weather, day-night heliport at the racecourse premises. The BMC is the owner of 2,58,245 square metres out of the 8,55,198 square metre racecourse land, leased out to the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) since June 1, 1914.

The State government is the owner of remaining 5,96,953 sq metre land. “We could set aside 58,800 square metres of space for the heliport if the government wants,” a senior civic official told sunday mid-day, following a meeting with state officials on Friday.

Also read: Mumbai Mayor slams govt over heliport at racecourse proposal

The racecourse’s lease with RWITC expired on May 31, 2013 and the government will soon take a call on the extension of the lease along with its decision to construct a heliport. The Maharashtra Aviation Development Authority (MADC) has already completed an Obstacle Limitation Survey (OLS) on the site for the construction of a 600-m landing strip, a fire station and VVIP rest rooms, along with four berths for the choppers.

Also read: Shiv Sena wants theme garden instead of heliport at Mahalaxmi Racecourse

The corporation has in the meeting also listed out past anomalies and violations in the RWITC lease, including a Section 105-B notice for unauthorised work inside a hotel, a breach notice of Rs 2.15 crore and a show-cause notice issued in 2004.

Also read: Here's what state govt wants to do at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse

“All these issues have been conveyed to the government on June 6, 2013, and the government can take a suitable decision accordingly,” a letter from BMC to government reads.

Meanwhile, speaking at the State Legislative Council yesterday, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said a final decision on the matter has not been taken yet but said that a heliport is the need of the hour.

Also read: Aaditya Thackeray roars against CM's heliport plan on Facebook

“It is only after the government received many complaints that we decided to do a feasibility study to build a heliport. The study has recommended that we go ahead,” he said.

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