The state government’s new government resolution (GR) dated March 15, which states that a separate policy will be formulated for renewing the licences of Mahalaxmi Racecourse and other clubs, has thrown the Shiv Sena’s plan of turning the racecourse into a theme park into jeopardy.
Following the GR, the Sena said it will again write to the BJP-led state government to renew the lease of the course, for the theme park. “Our demand for theme park hasn’t changed and we will again write to the state government to give the land for the park, which will be a public space,” said Yashvant Jadhav, Sena group leader in BMC.
According to the directive, the state government’s approval will be mandatory before the BMC renews the lease of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, seven gymkhanas and clubs. The GR also states that a separate directive will be issued on the rent to be charged and number of years for which these properties can be leased out to private players.
The issuance of the directive just after the civic election in which both the Sena and BJP were locked in a fierce tussle for governing the richest civic body in the country highlights the power tussle more. The Sena, which now governs the civic body, wants a theme park from the BJP-led state government who can stall the process and even disapprove it. The GR is related to 160 schedule-W properties in the city, mostly in south Mumbai, and are owned by both state and BMC.
For all other schedule-W properties, the BMC will implement its own land-lease policy with the exception for the racecourse, which will be as per the state government’s directive.
Sena had proposed to take back the land from Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) which was given to them on lease for 99 years and turn it into a theme park. The lease of the land expired in 2013. About 8 lakh square metres of the Racecourse land is owned by the BMC and state government.
In addition, the GR also changed the revenue-sharing model from 50-50% between BMC and state to now 70% of the revenue earned from these properties to be directed to the state.