Mumbai: HC rescues huge Goregaon ground from the clutches of BJP minister Vidya Thakur's family

Updated: Oct 23, 2019, 07:30 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

Diwali comes early for Goregaon residents as Bombay High Court rules that Venus Cultural Association, which was being treated as a personal fief by BJP minister Vidya Thakur's family, is a public garden

Venus Cultural Association has been using the ground in Goregaon for cricket training and restricting public entry to the ground. Pic/ Nimesh Dave
Venus Cultural Association has been using the ground in Goregaon for cricket training and restricting public entry to the ground. Pic/ Nimesh Dave

In major relief to Goregaon locals, the Bombay High Court has instructed Venus Cultural Association (VCA) not to restrict entry of the public to the open space that it uses for sports activities. The plot must be used as a public garden, the court has ruled, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a local political activist. BJP minister of state for women and child development Vidya Thakur's husband Jayprakash is secretary of the association.

The court in its order has stated that no sports organisation will be permitted to carry out any organised activity and the plot would be used as a public garden. The order to this effect was issued on October 17.

Sachin Chavan, a political activist from Goregaon, had filed a petition against Venus Cultural Association for using the public ground for cricket training purpose and restricting public entry into the ground.

Vidya ThakurVidya Thakur

According to the petitioner, the ground located at Goregaon West belongs to the BMC and was handed over to the association on a caretaker basis.

"The association started cricket coaching and charged fees for the same. But during the training session, the association prohibited entry for common man into the public garden. This is a gross violation of rules," Chavan told mid-day.

Elaborating on the issue, Chavan alleged that since the association had political backing, the BMC turned a blind eye to his complaints of rules being flouted by the caretakers of the garden.

"I had taken up the issue with the BMC authorities. For over three years, there was no action on the complaint despite sending reminders to the civic officials about caretaker flouting norms. I believe that civic officials did not act as association enjoyed the BJP minister's backing. With no option left, I had to take the fight to the court corridors. I am thankful to the judiciary for passing orders that paved way for the entry of common man to the public garden," said Chavan, who in 2016, had filed the PIL against the association for violation of rules.

GroundCars and bikes are parked right in front of the entrance to the park, with no visible signage indicating that this is a public park. Pic/ Nimesh Dave

However, the secretary of the club refused the allegations made by Chavan.

"The timings of entry to the grounds have been mentioned on the board displayed outside the garden. There are no violations of rules," Jayprakash Thakur said.

When asked about the court order, the BJP minister's husband said, "I have not gone through the court order. I was busy with the Assembly elections. Unless I go through the order, I cannot comment on it."

3
No. of years Chavan pursued the matter with the BMC

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