mid-day editorial: The race to save Mahalaxmi is upon us

Updated: Feb 05, 2018, 08:17 IST | mid-day correspondent

The city's most prestigious racing event of the year, the memorable 76th Indian Derby, is finito

The city's most prestigious racing event of the year, the memorable 76th Indian Derby, is finito. But even as the dust swirls and settles on the picturesque track at Mahalaxmi, it is time to take a good hard look at this green emerald of SoBo. For the hardened racing man or woman, the Derby is the race of all races, but for the rest of Mumbaikars, this event shows us just how important the racecourse is to Mumbai, as a vital lung of concretized SoBo.

This green and open land serves as an easy-to-access recreational space for walkers and joggers. Lately, it has become favourite among running clubs as well. Even as we say this, the noises about converting the racecourse into a 'more profitable' venture have not died down. Currently, the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) is battling an acute financial crunch, and the 100-year-old lease of the club is long over and in limbo. It would be kind, in fact, to state that the club is skating on thin ice, and the GST has only strengthened the stranglehold on the sport.

Let everyone do whatever is in their might to keep this space open and free. It is priceless, and of immense value to Mumbaikars. Every open space need not be exploited commercially - and the intangible benefits of lungs in a choked city alone outweigh every other consideration.

Leaders and those in power must act as guardians of this space, rather than grabbers. We must realise how lucky we are to have a turf bang in the middle of Mumbai. The Derby is much more than a horse race to those that hold the environment, and green, open spaces dear. The thunder of hooves of the finest four-year-olds in the land must beat a tattoo on our hearts and minds, it must drill into our minds the importance of all our roles in safeguarding this race course.

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