A fire brigade station set up in a portion of the Priyadarshini Park in south Mumbai may not look elegant and sophisticated but it was a necessity, the Bombay High Court observed on Tuesday. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar made the remark while hearing a lawsuit by the Malabar Hill Citizens' Forum (MHCF) challenging the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai's (MCGM) decision to set up a fire brigade station inside the park.
The bench asked the citizens' forum to meet the civic body officials instead and discuss their problems with them. The MHCF had moved the court claiming that several
trees and the entrance to the park were demolished to make way for the fire tender vehicles. The petitioner added that the park gates have to be now kept open all through the night so that the fire trucks can go in case of emergencies. This has resulted in several unruly people making the park their night shelter and sleeping on its benches.
The court sought to know if there was any other land available in the vicinity where the fire brigade could be set up. The corporation's counsel Joaquim Reis replied in the
negative and said, "The fire station has reduced the response time to fire emergencies in Malabar Hill, Walkeshwar and Peddar Road. Several lives have been saved since the fire
station has been set up here."
The court then suggested the petitioners to have a meeting with the civic body officials and discuss the issue and then come back to the court. "The fire station may not look nice and sophisticated but it is a necessity. What if there is a fire somewhere nearby?" Chief Justice Chellur asked and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
The Priyadarshini park, spread over 65,000 sq ft, was set up on a reclaimed land and was handed over to the MHCF on lease in 1985. The citizens' forum developed a children's park, joggers' park and sports complex in the park and has been maintaining it. According to the BMC, around 4,000 sq m of the park was reserved for a fire brigade station.
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