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Central Park at Turf Club?

Mayor Shubha Raul has grand plans for the 22-acre open space at Mahalaxmi Race Course, reports Sayli Udas Mankikar.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2009 01:45 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

Mayor Shubha Raul has grand plans for the 22-acre open space at Mahalaxmi Race Course.

Earlier, she wanted to build a parking lot there.

Now, she wants the open space for a spectacular tourist spot, though the Royal Western India Turf Club which maintains the 226-acre race course has already turned down her proposal.

“I have suggested that we could build an underground aquarium and a dolphin park. But this not a final plan and only a start for the utilisation of the open space,” said Raul.

Ironically, the proposed site is a few kilometres away from Taraporewala Aquarium, which is being extended into an oceanarium - a state government proposal that is in the last stages of bidding.

Raul was unaware of the aquarium revamp plan.

“If that’s the case, we can develop the area like the Central Park at New York, which works as a lung for the entire city,” she said.

Raul has a hard copy of the proposal from a little-known entertainment company, Ape Super Ape Entertainment Pvt Ltd, based in Chinchpokli.

When Hindustan Times contacted Pradip Gohil, managing director of Ape Super Ape Entertainment Pvt Ltd, the company admitted it had no experience in the project and was only acting as a catalyst for a dolphin therapy assistant in Australia, who is hoping to tie-up with the firm for such a project.

“Any project that we initiate will not disturb the functioning of the race course till its lease expires. But if we start planning now, we shall have a concrete plan,” she added.

But the RWITC is not happy with the proposal.

It has written to the mayor declining the suggestion, saying that their agreement — which is on till 2013 — specifies that the 22-acre area has to be maintained as an open ground and free for public use.

“We are not in favour of any such proposal, which we have conveyed to the Mayor through a letter from our committee. The open space is maintained by us and is used by amateur riders and for jogging,” said Vivek Jain, spokesperson of the RWITC.