The state government, on Tuesday, presented evidence before the two-member Adarsh inquiry commission to show that the society plot in Block VI of Colaba division was physically non-existent until 1973. That’s because before 1973, it was all under water.
If this is proved, it can puncture the argument of military authorities, who have claimed that the plot has been in military possession since the colonial days.
State government counsel Anil Sakhare cross-examined witness Sanjay Dhikle, superintendent of City survey and Land Records of Mumbai city by asking him to decipher various maps dating from 1916 to 1973 submitted by the state government as evidence.
Dhikle told the commission that until 1973, the entire Block VI of Colaba (which includes the Adarsh plot) was under the sea and had not been reclaimed.
This testimony will help bolster the state government’s claim of ownership. According to state land revenue laws, all reclaimed or foreshore land is the natural property of the state.
Interpreting the proposed Backbay Reclamation Scheme map for Block III to Block VI, prepared by the Town planning and Valuation Department of the state government, he said Block VI was under water but the state had decided to reclaim it. Dikhle told the commission, “Block VI was not reclaimed but committed for the same. It was going to be reserved for various uses like a bus depot, car shed, a pumping station and a proposed road to Uran, once it was reclaimed.”
Reading an earlier 1967 development plan for Mumbai prepared by the municipal corporation, Dikhle had again shown how Block VI was then under water. He also pointed to the commission that a 1936 map showed military land as being beyond Block VI, which till then fell between a storm water drain and a sewage drain.