This is what Shiv Sena wants to do with the Mahalaxmi Racecourse

Jun 01, 2013, 07:25 IST | Varun Singh and Chetna Yerunkar

Lease expired at midnight yesterday; hours earlier, Uddhav Thackeray released the party's plan for what it calls Mumbai Public Park

While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is still undecided whether to take the Mahalaxmi Racecourse land back or not (the lease expired at midnight yesterday), Shiv Sena the ruling party has come up with its own blueprint of the place and even named it Mumbai Public Park. On the other hand, the Municipal Commissioner has not taken a firm stand on the issue.

Yesterday, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray came up with a blueprint during a press conference called to discuss the issue. The blueprint has all the detailing of the Park that his party aims of constructing on the land where the racecourse stands today. He also announced that he was expecting the NCP-Congress alliance to support their move.

An artist’s impression of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse as it stands today

Refusing to comment on what would be his party’s stand if the government extends the lease, he said, “Why should we always be fighting with each other? Why should there be opposition for everything that we suggest? I am hoping that the government would take into consideration our suggestion and I will even meet the chief minister with the blueprint that we have prepared.”

Surprisingly, he also said, “I never said that the garden that would come up at the racecourse be named after Balasaheb Thackeray. All these issues can be discussed later. What has to be thought about right now is the happiness of Mumbaikars.” Moreover, he also rubbished the talk of being involved in any ‘politics’ regarding the racecourse issue. “If working for the happiness of the common people is politics, then I am proud to acknowledge this move of ours is political,” he said. 

Civic action
Meanwhile, the BMC will first send the report to the State Government where a proposal of the group leaders meeting held a few days back would be considered with the administration’s proposal. Everything will be put forward to the state and only then will the decision be taken on the 250 acres of land. A major part of the racecourse remains with the state government with the BMC owning a part of it 2.55 lakh of the 8 lakh sq m.

The other side
When asked by when was the BMC planning to send a notice on vacating the land of racecourse and whether the civic body was thinking of extending the lease, Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, said, “We will send a combined report soon to the state but that also doesn’t mean that the decision of our land will be taken by them.”

The promised attractions
1) Iconic Tower, and area for outdoor performances
2) Art corner
3) Amphitheater
4) Lawn, large concert area, kite flying area and Yoga area
5) Water games
6) Area for live events
7) Movie Nights at the park
8) An outdoor cinema
9) Outdoor gym
10) Rock climbing
11) Restaurants
12) Farmers’ Market 

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