With opposition from local residents and politicians to give back the 15,000 sq m of land which houses Priyadarshini Park to build a fire brigade station, a freeway and a post office, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is scouting for other options in the vicinity.
Priyadarshini Park has been developed on a sprawling 69,000 sq m of open space. Of this, 6,000 sq m is needed to set up a fire station, 8,000 sq m for a freeway to connect Malabar Hill to Worli and 1,000 sq m for the post-office.
“We don’t need to build the fire station there. We can manage on any other land in the vicinity,” said a senior fire brigade official, on condition of anonymity.
Local residents and former Malabar Hill legislator, BA Desai, are opposing the plan.
“What was the BMC doing for so long? Why do they suddenly want to ruin the park,” said Aarti Raheja a resident of Napean Sea Road. However, former corporator Gunvant Seth said, “There is a need for a fire brigade in this area but if the BMC can find alternative land then the park can be saved.”
Seth said the state government had handed over the plot to the BMC in 1980. In 1985, the municipal corporation had given it to the Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum to develop the park. However, the development control rules clearly state that 26,000 sq m of the plot has been reserved for a maidan, 19,000 sq m for a garden and the other 15,000 sq m was reserved for public amenities.
“Since there is no clarity on the ownership status of the land we have asked the collector to check their records and get back to us,” said a senior civic official, on condition of anonymity. Chief fire officer, Uday Tatkare said there was a dire need for a fire station in the area.