Juhu residents fighting for seven years against a trust that allegedly misused a recreation ground given to it under the BMC's controversial caretaker policy, have reason to rejoice. An internal report compiled by the Development Plan (DP) department has found various irregularities in the trust's agreement with the civic body.
The report says the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had not ratified the foundation's agreement with it in 1998, which makes it null and void. Under the agreement, the Ronson Foundation was given a 4-acre recreational ground under the caretaker policy.
The report that has been sent to the civic chief also mentions that the foundation doesn't have a valid commencement certificate for any construction on the plot. The report also points out that the ground had 1,300 trees, but now 862 are missing.
"The foundation has a commencement certificate from the building proposal department, but it needs to be validated periodically, which they haven't done. This means they don't have a valid certificate," an official from the DP department said.
Sohail Kusumgar, trustee of the foundation said, "The improvements committee and the corporation both passed the agreement. We don't have to get ratification from the civic body separately."
The four-acre recreational ground was bought by the BMC in 1986 and, in 1990, given to Ronson Foundation for development and maintenance. In 1998, an agreement was made between the BMC and the foundation, giving the plot on a caretaker basis.
"We have been trying to explain to authorities that there were irregularities committed by the foundation. How can the BMC give permission to construct a bar and underground parking on a recreation ground?" said Sanjay Hedge, chairman, Gulmohar Area Societies Welfare Group.
The implications of this report could be that the commencement certificate may be cancelled.
Regarding the missing trees, Ashoke Pandit, secretary of the welfare group, said, "The tree authority kept giving permission to the builder to cut trees and ignored all our complaints."