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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Oshiwara residents move court to save open space

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, October 04, 2012
First Published: 01:11 IST(4/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(4/10/2012)

An organisation of Oshiwara residents has approached the Bombay high court challenging allotment of two plots - one of which is the only open space in the area - to an educational institute for setting up an international school.

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One of the plots has been reserved for a playground, and the other for a municipal school.

The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Niteen Jamdar has directed the state government to file affidavits in response to the PIL filed by the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Citizens Association.

The association has contended that the 3,850 sq m plot reserved for the playground was the only open space for thousands of citizens in the area. The other plot, admeasuring 2,160 sq m, is shown in the Development Plan of the city as sanctioned for a municipal school.

They have also challenged the allotment stating it is contrary to the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act. The allotment is also contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in various rulings - that public land cannot be given away through any methods except public tenders and for the best  price.

In January 2002, Maharashtra Government had ordered Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) to allot both plots to the Janata Education Society.

In August 2008, a Lease Deed was executed by Mhada, leasing both the plots for 30 years, after the educational institution paid premium of Rs. 6.11 crore and nominal lease rent of Rs. 31 per annum for the plots.

The PIL states in February and March 2012, residents were told that a playground and garden would be developed on the larger plot and the amenities would be available for residents once the construction of an international school on the adjoining plot is complete.

However, the association alleged that the ground is open to residents only for an hour in the morning and two hours in the evening.

Apprehending that the only open space available may be lost, the association has sought cancellation of the allotment and direction to the authorities to take back possession of both the plots and hand over the plot meant for the playground to the residents.


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