While Malabar Hill residents have resolved to not let the civic body cut up the Priyadarshini Park into pieces, they are quick to agree on the need for a fire station.
Residents were up in arms when the civic body asked the association maintaining the park to surrender 15,000 sq m of its area for public amenities and services.
However, now locals are suggesting that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation consider a plot in possession of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to build the station.
“With the increasing number of high rises in Malbar Hill, a fire station needs to be developed in this area,” said Indrani Malkani, secretary of Malbar Hill Residents Association. “The facility should have been developed long back on the plot earmarked for the fire station as specified in the city's development plan.” Malkani said they could reach a compromise if the fire station was developed on the MSRDC plot, which is located adjacent to the originally demarcated plot. “For this, the government will have to cancel the freeway plan," she said.
The vacant plot currently houses offices of the MSRDC and is will be used for the sea link connecting Bandra to Nariman Point.
BA Desai, president of Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum that has developed and is maintaining Priyadarshini Park Sports Complex, supports the proposal. He said: “As per the Coastal Regulation Zone, 2010, all recreational grounds and open spaces come under no development zone. Besides, the Maharashtra State Government Urban Development Department has given directives to the civic body under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act to construct the fire station on MSRDC land." However, it appears that the MSRDC is unwilling to part with its plot.
An MSRDC official said on condition of anonymity: “The fire station is an essential amenity and should come on the reserved plot as per the development control rules. Why should the MSRDC give away the plot?”