Despite clear instructions from the Bombay high court and the Supreme Court, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not taken any steps to reclaim its 61,750.01-sqft plot at Cuffe Parade.
The state government had leased the plot to the BMC on March 12, 1980 to build a municipal school on 50% of the area and a playground on the remaining land. The current market value along with the permissible FSI brings the total cost of the plot to Rs. 700 crore.
But, thanks to civic apathy, half the plot is currently being used as a dumping ground for trimmed trees while the remaining part is being used as a parking lot by the neighbouring GD Somani Memorial School. The school has also displayed a board claiming that the plot has been reserved for its proposed Somani School.
After receiving the plot in 1980, owing to financial constraints, the civic administration could not build the school and the playground. Hence, in a letter written to the Cuffe Parade Resident Association (CPRA) on January 19, 1987, the then municipal commissioner, SS Tinaikar, had asked the former to take over temporary possession of the said plot for maintenance and to develop a children’s park.
However, the state government, through its general resolution (GR) dated January 8, 1990, handed over half the plot to the Somanis for the extension of their school. The Somanis had to build a school for the corporation on the other half. The CPRA had filed a writ petition against the GR in the Bombay high court. “The state government is directed to continue keeping the land with the corporation on the same terms and conditions on which it was granted to the corporation on March 12, 1980,” said the high court’s order dated January 7, 2011. The Supreme Court, too, had upheld the lower court’s order.
Arvind Hire, deputy municipal commissioner, education, said, “We have asked the state to hand over the plot to us. We are waiting for their orders.”
MP Sharma, director, GD Somani memorial school, said they have not received any order to vacate the plot.