Mumbai: 7 acre Bandra reclamation plot to be city's first athletics hub

Updated: May 09, 2019, 21:44 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The facility is being constructed from state government funds which are estimated to be Rs 11 crore

Mumbai: 7 acre Bandra reclamation plot to be city's first athletics hub
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A 7-acre open space in Bandra Reclamation will be turned in to the city’s first public athletics hub. According to reports, the neglected ground near Rangasharda Auditorium will soon be revived and is expected for the public by next month.

According to Mumbai Mirror, the new 7-acre open ground will have national-level track and field sports amenities, walking and jogging tracks and a garden. The facility is being constructed from state government funds which are estimated to be Rs 11 crore.

The facility, which will boast of national-level track and field sports amenities, walking and jogging tracks and a garden, is being constructed using state government funds at a cost of Rs 11 crore.

The land, which was abandoned for almost 40 years, was reserved for recreation ground however, it was exploited by illegal encroachments and dumping of construction debris and it is commercial exploitation. MHADA authorities and local residents also turned it into a battleground due to its poor state. Officials claimed that commercial activities were banned at the ground after Bombay High Court issued an order in 2017.

A local BJP MLA Ashish Shelar had pushed for the land revival project. He had also secured funds from the District Planning and Development Council. He said, "We are transforming an abandoned encroached ground into a national-level sports facility. It will also have space for traditional Indian sports like malkhamb and kabaddi, as well as track and field events like discus and javelin throws. Work is going on in full swing. The facility will open shortly.”

Speaking to the website, the Shelar said that several efforts have been made to revamp the neglected ground. It was levelled and loads of debris were removed as part of the revamp.

He said, “The sports facility will also have a toilet and a changing room for athletes. We are laying storm water drains to make sure that there is no flooding in the monsoon. It took a lot of effort to get some encroachments from the adjacent slum pocket removed.”

MHADA authorities also assured that a local NGO or sports authorities will also be appointed to maintain the ground and sports facility. “The fees for using the facility will be nominal and it will be open to all residents of the city. The use and operation will be governed by MHADA,” said an official.

The move sees positive reactions from the locals. Vidya Vaidya of the Bandra Reclamation Area Volunteers Organisation quipped that the ground should remain a usable open space for residents.

“This is a welcome move. This was an open space that was lying in neglect for over 40 years. It was totally misused and had turned into a debris dumping site. This should be accessible to all residents for leisure and sports,” she said.

Last year, MHADA issued permission to a circus to perform on the ground and after the locals protested against the move, the approval was revoked. Local residents had said that the circus would hit the ground's revamp process. Ashish Shelar and a group of locals had held a huge protest outside the MHADA office against the dumping of garbage on the ground in May last year.

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