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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Worli societies for politicians cost city 1 more garden, clinic

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 25, 2013
First Published: 01:05 IST(25/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(25/4/2013)

When the state government handed over more land for additional floor space index for the two housing societies in Worli, it came at the expense of two public gardens, a dispensary and quarters for civic employees.

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Documents with HT show that the 4,900 sq m plot reserved for a garden, a dispensary and building quarters in the city's development plan is where the 14-storey Sukhada stands today.

This, in fact, is one of the several reasons the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) rejected the proposal to construct the buildings in 1997.

As reported in HT's April 24 edition, following repeated demands from the society's promoters for more land, the state government had de-reserved another garden plot and transferred its FSI to the societies.

These actions emphasise failure on part of the authorities to implement the city's development plan, which is the blueprint for its development. This time, though, it was the state government that took these decisions, the BMC had opposed the plans.

In a December 2001 letter sent to the under secretary of the urban development department, the BMC had conveyed its objection to the move, stating that it would only benefit builders and not citizens.

The BMC had suggested that the garden be developed and made accessible to the public, but the state government issued a notification four months later de-reserving the plots.

"This move by the state to grant additional FSI was illegal because the 2002 Union environment ministry's notification makes it clear that proposals to change modifications of plots under the Coastal Regulation Zone have to go to the Maharashtra Coastal Management Zone Authority for approval. Not doing this shows that the state government and the society were complicitly involved," said lawyer YP Singh.


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