Desperate to save a part of Priyadarshini Park, the Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum will be suggesting alternative open spaces in the area to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for a fire station.
The civic body wants to build the fire station on a small section of the park as per the reservation made in the city’s development plan. Malabar Hill residents are vehemently opposing this. “The BMC can construct a fire station on the open plot next to Malabar Hill police station on Ridge Road. Similarly, a plot near Shimla House is also vacant and could be used for the purpose,” said Suji Ben Shah, general secretary of Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum that maintains the park.
“Next week, we will have a meeting of all residents in which the next course of action will be decided. We will again suggest options to the BMC. If the BMC still sticks to its plan, we will conduct a signature campaign as we have done in the past to save the park,” said Bharat Agarwal, a member of Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum. Further, members of the forum are also thinking of moving court if required.
The BMC, however, is sticking to its plan as per provisions made in 1991. Manisha Mhaiskar, additional commissioner, BMC, said, “As things stand today, the development plan (DP) reservation shows a fire station in the park plan.”
Chief fire officer Uday Tatkare insisted that coastal regulations would not affect the fire station plan. “Even if the plot falls under the CRZ we are not building a huge structure. It is a public utility and not a residential tower. We have a 5,000 sq-m area and even 0.75 FSI should be sufficient to construct a fire station.”
The civic body's plan is being supported by another section of residents represented by the Malabar Hill Residents Association.
“If a plot of land is reserved for a particular purpose then it should be used for it. As all authorities are aware of the plan and its significance, they should go ahead with it,” said Indrani Malkani, secretary of the association.