Even though the state government's 14-year-old plan to turn decommissioned naval warship IMS (Indian Museum Ship) Vikrant into a national maritime museum has already been grounded and will have to start from scratch, a turf war has broken out between Colaba residents and the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) over it.
The Bakhtavar (Colaba) Association of Apartment Owners has dragged the trust to court alleging that it has been carrying out construction work in the intertidal zone outside the boundary of Botanical Garden at Sassoon Dock in Colaba without the requisite coastal authority's permission.
The association claims this work is being done to construct a road to Oyster Rock, where IMS Vikrant is grouted.
MbPT, which has built the garden, flatly denied the allegation. "This is to clarify that the work undertaken by this port trust is connected with the maintenance work of Botanical Garden only, and has no connection with infrastructure access to Vikrant," an MbPT letter dated January 20 reads. MbPT has also pointed out that this is erosion control work, which is permitted in such areas.
The residents, however, have refused to let go, pointing out that even if the construction is not for the Vikrant project, it is illegal as it is being carried out without approvals from the state coastal body or the environment ministry.
"Land reclamation work is being carried out using heavy vehicles. This will lead to reclaiming of nearly half a kilometre of land," states the petition filed by Neena Patel, member of the association.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing this week.
Meanwhile, the state will formally reject the sole bid made by Ackruti City to undertake the Vikrant project this week, putting the plan back on the drawing board, said a senior official.