Tired of trying to prove their point to the local civic officials, Juhu residents fighting for access to open spaces have used technology to show that Club Millennium is not giving them access to as much space as it should be.
After being assured by club officials and local Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities that the club had thrown open 67% of the plot to the public, residents obtained satellite images of the club using Google Earth and showed that barely one-third of the plot is being thrown open.
Members of Juhu Scheme Residents Association (JSRA) have now written to the BMC chief Subodh Kumar, attached the images taken and requested him to take action against the club.
In February, the BMC had served a notice to the club authorities asking them to stick to the conditions laid down before the club’s construction was approved. The notice said the club, being built on a private plot reserved for a Recreation Ground (RG), had to keep 67% of the plot open and develop it as an RG; the club could be constructed on the remaining 33% of the plot. This 67% had to be made available for the unrestricted use of the public.
Residents claim the BMC sent this notice after they repeatedly filed complaints about the club.
The satellite images prove that the club has not bothered to obey the BMC’s notice.
Utsal Karani, member of JSRA, said: “The club had been instructed by the BMC, through its notice in February, to keep two-third of the plot open to the public. These images nail the club as they show that just one-third of the area has been kept open.”
K-west assistant municipal commissioner Ramesh Pawar said the areas to be kept open to the public include the green spaces, the tennis court and the pool. “All these areas make up the 67% that they are supposed to keep open. According to the information we have, these areas are open, though with restricted timings, as per the rules,” Pawar said.
Residents disagree with the BMC. Sherley Singh, secretary, JSRA, said the pool and the tennis court were out of bounds for locals.
“We had raised some points with the BMC: One is that the plot be demarcated to ensure that the 67% area to be kept open is clearly seen. The second is that the timings that the area is accessible to the public be extended. The BMC has failed to execute its own notice in full spirit,” Singh said.
Club authorities dismissed the allegations. “This is a privately-owned property and we are abiding by all the norms,” Rajeev Anand, owner of the club, said.