Local residents seek scrapping of proposal; hearing of PIL in case to be held in June
Residents held a drum session at Patwardhan Park on May 13 to show such events are held there and it is not closed
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has once again postponed the date of submission of tenders for the underground parking lot at Patwardhan Park in Bandra. Now the date is June 23. This is the sixth time that it has pushed the date ahead in the past two months. Local residents have filed a PIL against the construction on the open space and the hearing is expected in June.
The BMC had floated a tender to construct the underground parking beneath the north side of Bal Gandharva Rangmandir at Patwardhan Park in Bandra West on March 6. The move came after Additional Commissioner P Velrasu visited the site in February 2023. Residents and activists opposed the decision and asked for a meeting with local MLA Ashish Shelar who had moved the proposal for the underground parking. The meeting hasn’t taken place yet and since then, the BMC has been dragging its feet on the proposal.
“The BMC must scrap the proposal, but instead, it is just postponing the dates for submission of tenders,” said activist Zoru Bhathena, who, along with others, filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court against the construction on the open space.
As per the earlier schedule, the last date for submission of the tenders was April 3. The process was first delayed with two extensions for a pre-bid meeting. Initially, the BMC was extending the deadlines by a week but the past two times, it extended the deadline by 15 days and now it has extended it for a month.
Velrasu did not comment on the issue despite calls and messages. It is learnt that the BMC has also extended the deadlines of two other underground construction parking lots at Hutatma Chowk and Worli engineering hub.
As the BMC and local MLA are allegedly not ready to take cognisance, activists filed the PIL against the civic body’s decision. The hearing will be in June and petitioners informed the BMC on April 27 seeking a halt to the plans, otherwise they would move the vacation bench.
Petitioners Bhathena and Alan Abraham claimed to have visited every commercial building within 150 metres of Patwardhan Park and counted the available car parking spaces (for four and two wheelers).
“In the immediate vicinity (within 150 metres) of Patwardhan Park, there exist over 500 officially sanctioned car parking spaces for mercantile establishments. However, the petitioner has observed that almost 400 of these parking spaces are lying unused or encroached upon,” reads the PIL.
The petitioners have counted 455 on-road parking spots in a 250 metre radius of Patwardhan Park. They have claimed that the Parking Authority of the BMC has incorrectly stated that within 500 metres, there are only 276 parking spots for four-wheelers and 182 of them for two-wheelers.
In a response to a Right to Information query, the civic body and traffic police refused to give information on the official parking spaces available in the park’s vicinity. The residents are now waiting for a reply from the Worli traffic division but don’t expect fruitful results.
Extension, extension, extension!
Tender floated - March 6
Original date of submission of tender - April 3
First extension of date of submission of tender - April 10
Second extension - April 17
Third extension - April 24
Fourth extension - May 9
Fifth extension - May 24
Sixth extension - June 23