Mumbai Mayor's new address: Byculla or Malabar Hill?

Making way for Bal Thackeray’s memorial, the mayor will move either to the garden superintendent’s bungalow at Byculla or in a bungalow in Malabar Hill currently occupied by a couple of IAS officers 

On the occasion of the third death anniversary of Bal Thackeray on Tuesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced at a press conference that the present mayoral bungalow located opposite Shivaji Park will become a memorial for the late Shiv Sena supremo.

Also Read: Bal Thackeray memorial to come up in mayor's bungalow

The mayor’s bungalow located opposite Shivaji Park, which will become a memorial for the late Bal Thackeray. PICS/DATTA KUMBHAR
The mayor’s bungalow located opposite Shivaji Park, which will become a memorial for the late Bal Thackeray. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Fadnavis also announced the formation of a public trust under Sena head Uddhav Thackeray, that will look after the formation of the memorial. Snehal Ambekar, the mayor of the richest municipal corporation in the country, will be housed either in Byculla, or in Malabar Hill. Sources claim that Malabar Hill is more acceptable to the mayor because of the location.

The bungalow belonging to the Hydraulic Engineering department of the BMC at Malabar Hill, which might soon house the Mayor.
The bungalow belonging to the Hydraulic Engineering department of the BMC at Malabar Hill, which might soon house the Mayor. 

Byculla’s garden superintendent’s bungalow is bigger than the bungalow in Malabar Hill, but is within the premises of the Byculla zoo — and the mayor isn’t satisfied with the location. The Malabar Hill bungalow is next to Hanging Gardens, located atop the Malabar Hill reservoir and managed by the Hydraulic Engineering department.

There are two bungalows in Malabar Hill and both are occupied by IAS officers. While the one occupied by Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherji is smaller, the other bungalow occupied by Pravin and Pallavi Darade, both IAS officers, is a larger one, with two huge halls on the ground floor and a large lobby. However, both the bungalows have a common entrance and there’s hardly any space available for parking. And if Malabar Hill is finally selected, the choice would be that of the larger bungalow.

No parking space
“There’s not much space for parking available even at the municipal commissioner’s bungalow, which is located in the vicinity. But it looks like the location, Malabar Hill, is more acceptable than Byculla, because of the name. However, we will have a lot of scope to work on the aesthetics, but then Malabar Hill sounds like a good name at the end,” said a senior functionary from the Shiv Sena, the ruling party in the BMC.

Read Story: Bal Thackeray memorial site chosen due to selfish interests: Raj Thackeray

“Amongst all the bungalows owned by BMC, the bungalow in which the mayor stays now is the largest one, then come the commissioner’s bungalow, the one in Byculla zoo, and the bungalow in which the Darades reside. The smallest is the one in which Mukherji stays. There’s a lot of space available in Byculla, even for parking,” said a senior IAS officer from the BMC.

Speaking at the press conference, the chief minister said, “We have decided that Balasaheb Thackeray’s memorial will come up at the mayor’s bungalow. The heritage part will be maintained as it is. All required permissions from the Environment and CRZ departments will be taken and there will be no shortage of funds for the memorial.”

Uddhav said, “We will keep the forum open for suggestions from everyone and let them give their inputs on how they want the memorial to be. Let there be no time frame, because suggestions from the common people will be incorporated in constructing the memorial.”

Meanwhile, there were certain reports that Raj Thackeray has opposed the memorial being constructed at the mayor’s bungalow. Prof Avkash Jadhav, Sena corporator said, “Actually it’s a case of sour grapes. Raj wanted a memorial for Balasaheb in Nashik, but even before he could do anything, the state government announced the memorial. The CM said that there will be no shortage of funds; everything at the administrative level has been finalised, which means the memorial will be constructed as soon as possible.”

Oppositionspeak
Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil insisted that the Thackeray family’s Kalanagar residence should be converted into late Balasaheb’s memorial.

“Generally residences of departed leaders are converted into memorials. The state government has bought Dr BR Ambedkar’s residence in London for his memorial. In the same way, the late Thackeray’s memorial should also be at his Kalanagar residence,” he told reporters.

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