For the residents of Gulmohar society in Juhu, the New Year has brought with it a green reason to cheer.
Since November, the residents had been locked in a battle with a charitable trust to save a 90,000-sq-ft plot meant for a playground from the hands of the contractors. Two months later, on Friday, they tasted the sweet taste of victory when Chief Minister Ashok Chavan stepped in to order a stay on the work on that ground.
A group of residents from Gulmohar Area Societies Welfare Group, along with Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, met Chavan on Friday and told him how the charitable trust sold the playground to a builder for Rs 70 crore to be developed into a residential complex.
“He carefully heard us and tried to understand our point. Later, he called up the municipal commissioner and asked them to set up an inquiry,” added Nirupam.
The residents’ groups alleged that the public charitable trust, Bhanabhai Nenshi Mahila Vidhyalaya, did not take permission from the charity commissioner before selling it.
“We are really glad that CM heard us out and has ordered a probe in the activities of the trust and also has asked for all the transaction details,” said Ashoke Pandit, secretary of the Gulmohar Area Societies Welfare Group.
The trust owns three vacant plots on Gulmohar Cross Road 6 in Juhu for over 40 years.
The residents had earlier mover the Bombay High Court, which had stopped any commercial use of the plot.
“These grounds, meant for charitable purposes, were used for commercial activities,” said Sanjay Hegde, of the Gulmohar Area Societies Welfare Group.