The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief is yet to take a decision on the issue of extending the lease for the Mahalaxmi racecourse to Royal Western India Turf Club as the lease expires today. However, the Shiv Sena hopes the lease to RWITC for the 2.55 lakh square metre part of the plot belonging to the civic body is not extended. Along with the state government’s share of the land the whole area of the plot amounts to 8.55 lakh square metre.
The state government, which has not yet commented on the issue, will play a major role in the decision. Shiv Sena, the ruling party at the BMC will come to know of the administration’s decision only on Friday. Earlier, mayor Sunil Prabhu from the Shiv Sena had written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan letting him know that the lease of the RWITC is expiring on May 31, 2013 and it should not be extended further.
He also wrote to the Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte asking him not to extend the lease of the said plot.The civic body had allotted the prime plot measuring 8,55,198 sq-metre in the heart of the city on a 99-year lease in 1914. The lease was extended in 2000 for 14 years, which is expiring today. The mayor demanded that an international standard garden be made on the plot in his letter.
Mayor Prabhu said, “We are sure this time we will be successful in taking back the BMC land from the racecourse as we do not want to give them any more time to make money on our leased property. I will be checking with the municipal commissioner on when he intends to send the RWITC the notice for vacating the land.”
A senior source at BMC revealed that the decision on the racecourse will be taken only after May 31. He said, “The commissioner is yet to decide and as the agreement is on the whole land there are very few chances of the BMC taking back the land. The state government will have a major role to play in this and if they grant the extension of lease, we may also have to grant them an extension.”