An 18,000 sq m plot at Cuffe Parade, reserved for a gymkhana exclusively for Members of Legislative Assembly, Members of Parliament and officers from the Indian Administrative Services, has come under the scanner of the Bombay high court.
Eight years after they filed a petition challenging the allotment of land for a gymkhana, NGO Janhit Manch, recently amended their petition, in response to corrigenda filed by the state in the interim period.
In the 2003 petition, the NGO's representative, Bhagwanji Rayani, contended that the government, through a 2002 resolution, had transferred and allotted the disputed plot of land, originally reserved for a public playground, to the legislative secretariat. The hearing was adjourned in 2006 and 2009.
The petition argues that the allocation is in violation of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, the Development Control Regulations, 1991, and various provisions under the Constitution.
It says the state has over. looked the need for a playground petition has named former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan (who was then the revenue minister) as respondents, on grounds that they were instrumental in formalising the proposal.
The petition says that the plot, which shares its boundary with the World Trade Centre, is valued at Rs230 crore, but was transferred to the legislative secretariat at a throwaway price. It contends that MLAs enjoy a number of perks, and at a time when the state is struggling to provide basic facilities to its populace, it needs more funds for general welfare schemes.
The PIL will come up for hearing next month.