Bal Thackeray memorial plan now faces CRZ hurdle

  • Chetna Yerunkar, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2015 17:09 IST
The Park Club, the plot adjoining the Mayor’s Bungalow, at Shivaji Park in Dadar. (Prashant Waydande)

The proposed memorial to be built for Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray seems to be running out of luck with chosen sites falling under restricted development zones. Even as the option of selecting the plot adjoining the Mayor’s Bungalow, Park Club, opened up, it has come to light that this plot is not only reserved as a recreation ground (RG) plot in the 1991 Development Plan, but also falls under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ).

If it zeroes in on this site, the Sena will either have to cut back its plans for the memorial or seek an exemption from the Centre to amend the CRZ Notification, 2011, for the purpose, so as to not flout the norms.

The CRZ Notification, 2011, restricts development along coastal stretches and allows a minimum of 15% construction — which is limited to civic amenities, gymnasium and other facilities not for residential or commercial use — on plots near the coast to protect the city’s green spaces.

The Sena’s choice for the memorial — the Mayor’s Bungalow — faced hurdles, as it has limited scope for construction since it is a grade-II heritage structure.

It also falls under CRZ II and is affected by a Supreme Court judgment that does not allow government bungalows to be converted into memorials.

The neighbouring plot option, which was recommended by the state-level committee, falls under the restricted development zone and is currently under litigation, said civic officials.

“Handing over the Park Club plot is not going to be easy, as we do not have possession of the plot. A court case is being fought between the civic body and the occupiers of the plot,” said a civic official requesting anonymity.

“Besides this, the 2,704 sq metre area will have to be dealt with very cautiously, as it is an RG plot. Since it falls under the CRZ, it also becomes a no-development zone. Unless the land use of the plot is changed, the memorial cannot be built here,” said the official.

Activists said the sites reserved as RGs/playgrounds (PGs)/parks/gardens should not be considered for the memorial.

“Owing to the paucity of open spaces, the land use will have to be changed. This is not recommended. Open spaces should be preserved; the reserved RG/PG plots should not be considered for such a purpose,” said Nayana Kathpalia, trustee, NAGAR.

However, Sena leaders said the plans and design of the memorial will be finalised in the next three months. Industries minister Subhash Desai said, “A committee will decide on the detailed plan for the memorial. We want the plans to be ready in the next two to three months after which it will be put into the public domain.”

Interestingly, the memorial may not have a statue of Bal Thackeray as Uddhav is not keen on installing one, said Sena leaders. Sources revealed the Sena is considering an exhibition in which his cartoons, aspects of his political career and ideology will be put on display in the bungalow throughout the year.

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