Mumbai: MVA shoots down BJP MLA's Bandra Fort revamp proposal

Updated: Feb 15, 2020, 07:52 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

BJP says move political as MVA cites slum rehabilitation, lack of permission as reasons for rejection

The BMC had planned to revamp the Bandra Fort at a cost of Rs  20.62 crore. File pic
The BMC had planned to revamp the Bandra Fort at a cost of Rs 20.62 crore. File pic

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) displayed a united front in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) against a proposal supported by the BJP. The proposal of beautifying and revamping the Bandra Fort (Castella de Aguada) and areas around it, mooted by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, was turned down by MVA members in a standing committee meeting on Friday. BJP corporators claimed this was a planned political move.

The BMC had planned to revamp the fort at a cost of R20.62 crore, of which, R11.87 crore was to be spent on construction activities, R2.47 crore was for the garden work while the remaining amount was for miscellaneous work. The civic body had also planned to develop urban forestry around the fort and the entire work was to be completed in one-and-a-half years.

However, local Congress corporator, Asif Zakaria, raised issues over the lack of permissions needed from various departments such as Archaeological department, the Maritime Board, among others.

"There are various questions that have arisen from the proposal. The presentation mentioned that the slums around the Fort would be removed, but there seems to be no mention of it in the proposal. The development we are showing is also in the Maritime Board property, do we have their permissions? Are we going to develop on their land? Further, why are we placing basalt stones and spending a high amount on lighting the area? Unless all these are answered, the proposal should not be passed."

Leader of House and Sena corporator Vishakha Raut also supported rejection of the proposal saying, "Unless the slums are removed by proper rehabilitation there is no question of taking the proposal ahead."

Makarand Narvekar, BJP corporator, said, "If there are more permissions needed we can take that in future before beginning the work, but why should the proposal be rejected on those grounds." Another BJP corporator, Prabhakar Shinde said, "The CM lives in Bandra and if the area around his residence is beautified it will be good for the city and this will boost tourism of the city."

With a difference of opinion among members, the standing committee chairman called for a vote on the subject with the majority asking for the proposal to be rejected.

Now the proposal cannot be tabled in front of the standing committee for another three months.

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