Mumbai: BMC wants 6,000 sq m of Bombay Gymkhana land
Land to be acquired for widening of Hazarimal Somani Marg from Azad Maidan to Fashion Street; standing committee gave its nod on Wednesday
The civic body has dealt its first blow to the Bombay Gymkhana. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has written to the district collector, who owns the Gymkhana land, to hand over 5,809 sq m of the gymkhana’s grounds for widening of Hazarimal Somani Marg from Azad Maidan to Fashion Street. The move comes after the civic standing committee gave its approval to the road widening on Wednesday from Cannon Pav Bhaji up to the maidan entrance.
The sprawling Bombay Gymkhana grounds were originally part of Azad Maidan. File pic
The sprawling gymkhana grounds were originally part of Azad Maidan. The Collector, and therefore the state government, owns it. The management of the gymkhana has a 99-year lease agreement with the Collector. The gymkhana was back in the news after a recent controversy over its grounds. Local corporator Ganesh Sanap had demanded that the Gymkhana grounds be opened to the public and there was a separate proposal for relocation of hawkers at the gymkhana entrance.
Widening in 2 phases
Besides, the BMC has proposed the widening of the adjacent Hazarimal Somani Marg — from the existing 50 feet to 80 feet. The widening of the road was planned in two phases — one from Cannon Pav Bhaji up to the maidan’s entry, while the second one up to Fashion Street. But, the standing committee did not approve of these two phases, alleging that the administration was trying to shield the gymkhana. The commissioner then wrote to the committee, assuring them that a second phase would be started soon. Bids have been invited for the first phase already.
Soon after, assistant municipal commissioner of A ward Kiran Dighavkar shot off a letter to the district Collector on Wednesday, demanding 5,809 sq m of the gymkhana’s land for road widening in its second phase. “Civic officials are authorised to acquire land as per the MMC Act. Besides, the gymkhana’s lease with the Collector also has a clause that says it will have to forfeit land for public purposes,” said an official from the BMC.
The ward office has also attached copies of surveys, maps, etc, for the Collector’s reference. Now, the Collector will give a show-cause notice to its lessee, the gymkhana. The BMC is willing to compensate the gymkhana for loss of any amenities.
When mid-day contacted the CEO of the gymkhana, R N Ranjan, in the matter, he refused to comment.
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