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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Getting Shivaji Park land not an issue for Sena

Sayli Udas Mankikar & Poorvi Kulkarni, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 14, 2012
First Published: 00:51 IST(14/12/2012) | Last Updated: 00:53 IST(14/12/2012)

While the Shiv Sena has started preparations to shift the existing makeshift memorial toward the margin of the park, getting permissions for the proposed plot might not be too difficult for the Shiv Sena.

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The proposed plot, according to Sena sources, is in possession of the Sena-run Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

"We haven't received any formal proposal from the Sena as yet. As and when we receive it, due procedure will be followed," a senior BMC official said on Thursday.  He added the BMC is waiting for reply to its notice to mayor Sunil Prabhu and MP Sanjay Raut to vacate Shivaji Park.

According to maps available with the BMC, the plot on which Thackeray was cremated and where the makeshift memorial has already been built - the open land between the Shivaji Maharaj statue and the municipal sports club cricket pitch - as well as the plot to which the Sena would shift the memorial, are in possession of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and is a recreation ground plot, which is not leased out to any entity. It is at the state and civic authorities' discretion to sanction any construction.

As a part of the procedure, in this case, the Shiv Sena will first submit a formal proposal to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who heads the urban development (UD) department. The UD department will take the opinion of the advocate general (AG) considering a litigation pending in the court in this case. Once the AG gives a go-ahead, the UD will inform the BMC which will allot the said plot for the memorial.

The open spaces policy of the BMC that is currently in place allows construction on 25% of the plot that is marked as a recreation ground in the city's development plan, under which this might be allowed.

The iconic Shivaji Park ground, which houses several constructions such as statues of Maratha emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji, Thackeray's wife - late Meenatai Thackeray - and even a Ganesh temple, has been divided into 37 sub plots which were leased out to different organisations including schools by the civic body way back in the 1960s.

The ground, which has been marked as a recreation ground in the 1991 development plan, has several cricket pitches, which were leased out to different sports clubs.


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