Mumbai: BMC offers a carrot to Bombay Gym; hints land maybe spared
Mumbai civic body, which has been at loggerheads with club, commissions survey to 'study pedestrian movement'; hints that Bombay Gym's land may be spared
While the city collectorate's notice sent to Bombay Gymkhana has excluded 2,616 square metres needed for the widening of Hazarimal Somani Marg, BMC has taken up a more considerate approach.
It's traffic department has been told to study the pedestrian movement to determine if the stretch along the gymkhana would need to be widened as much as the original proposal.
Senior civic officials said the traffic department has been asked to conduct a survey to determine the concentration of pedestrian movement on the entire road before the Development Plan 2034 is finalised.
In Hazarimal Somani Marg widening, some land of Bombay Gymkhana could be spared. File Pics
"We have learnt from various sources that most of the pedestrians moving towards CSMT enter the marg from Cross Maidan. If that is the case, there may be no need to widen the other end of the road, where the Alexandria Girls School and gymkhana's CEO's bungalow is located," said a senior civic official. He added that improving the pathway for pedestrians is their primary focus. "The road will have to be widened in areas where there is frequent high footfall; the plan to widen the road will be commensurate with the findings of traffic study," said the official.
Earlier, while making their argument to the BMC and state, gymkhana officials had maintained that their survey indicated most pedestrians used the stretch extending from Azad Maidan up to the CSMT subway at the end of the road.
Gymkhana preps its case
The gymkhana will get a chance to present its case to City Collector Shivaji Jondhale early next month. While gymkhana administration argues that the portion of their land has been excluded even though DP 2034 is yet to be released, collectorate officials said they have done so because the BMC wrote to them in 2016, asking them to hand over land for the project.
A gymkhana official said they are not willing to lose any portion of their land. "Our representatives accompanied by lawyers will present our case to the collector at the hearing. We will know more after that," added the official.
Based on the notice issued to the gymkhana on October 29, calculations for the revised rent have left out 2,616 sqm of the gymkhana land needed for the widening. The final area of the gymkhana stands at 22,827.64 sqm, and as per the guidelines set by the state government for renewal of lease agreements, the gymkhana will have to pay around Rs 80 lakh as rent for two years.
The tussle started in June 2016, when the BMC had proposed the widening. The gymkhana had opposed the idea and even moved the HC but had failed to get any relief. The BMC had written to the city collector, asking for the handover of the land, and later, included the plan of increasing the width of the road from 50 feet to 80 in DP 2034.
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