It was Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy who is credited with bringing the railway to this hill station over 100 years ago.
Fondly remembered as the Matheran Railwaywalla by the people of this hill station, a memorial in his name is now become a bone of contention between his successor and the Matheran Hill Station Municipal Council.
The Matheran municipal council last week denied permission to a memorial for Sir Peerbhoy, citing environment reasons.
The grandson of Sir Peerbhoy, Ali Akbar Adamjee Peerbhoy, had last year taken the initiative to build a memorial to honour his predecessor.
He had written a letter to the state government, expressing his interest to build the memorial on his own land.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, then revenue minister, had appreciated the move and written to the Matheran municipal council to support the Peerbhoy family in its initiative.
Now, after the municipal council denied him permission, Ali Peerbhoy is suspecting foul play by some local politicians.
“Since last year, I am following the issue with state government and the municipal council. The state has given full support to my initiative, but I don’t know why the municipal council is opposing the memorial,” said Ali Peerbhoy.
“I will follow all the environment rules led by the central government. I have important documents that are over 100 years old and also some antic objects,” he said, adding that some local politicians are opposing to the memorial for personal reasons.
The president of the Matheran municipal council, Manoj Khedekar, however, denied the allegations.
“We have great respect for Sir Peerbhoy. The council has even named a road after him. Besides, the council had passed the proposal for a memorial a year ago and we are working on it. Ali Peerbhoy has violated the construction rules led by the Eco-Sensitive Committee. The Peerbhoy family has already used three times the FSI of their own land, and now it impossible for the council to grant him permission to build the memorial.”
“We are ready to support the Peerbhoy family, but only if they abide by the rules,” he added.
Last year, Central Railway had announced a memorial to Sir Peerbhoy in Matheran.