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Preserve racecourse as an open space

Every time an Indian Derby is run, it is time to look at the Mahalaxmi racecourse through a prism, which shows us how important it is to Mumbai. In a city bursting at the seams and where concrete is king, this piece of turf, is more than just a racecourse. It is the lung of South Mumbai, retaining its original character as a centre for horse racing and when off-season, as a recreational space for Mumbaikars.

Currently, we see the space being used for mammoth political events and rallies of some kind, even when it should be primarily used for sporting purposes. Having political meets unnecessarily politicizes this space. There have been various attempts by those in power that have eyed this hugely lucrative space for so many years now, that only continuous vigilance and a firm will can protect it.

The club has always had a real fight on its hands to preserve this prime land for racing and with that, consequently as an open space for SoBo citizens. While there has always been debate about how the racecourse can be used to generate more funds for the State than it is doing currently, not everything can be valued in terms of money; there are some profits that are intangible but very important nevertheless.

So, as we stand a day after Indian racing’s most prestigious crown is decided, with the dust settling on Mahalaxmi which had been spruced up for the finest four-year-olds in the land, it is time to protect the racecourse even more fiercely than we have till now. Let us preserve it the way it is for future generations for it is a place to relish and cherish.

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