Marine Drive’s date with Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 racecar is in jeopardy. Even as Vodafone India, which is organising the event, sent out a press release claiming that the exhibition drive will be held on September 16, the Marine Drive Council, an umbrella body of local citizen groups, has objected to the event.
The council shot off a letter, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, to state chief secretary JK Banthia and BMC chief Sitaram Kunte, opposing the exhibition drive. In its letter, the council has said that such an event would commercialise the road.
“[The event] would set an extremely bad precedent, which would make it difficult to prevent future commercial uses of the promenade and Marine Drive road. We are battling reckless and fast driving on Marine Drive, which have already caused many fatalities, and this exhibition drive would set a very wrong example,” the letter says.
Senior civic officials, who requested anonymity as they do not have the authority to speak to the media, said the organisers had been asked to secure clearances from the traffic police as well as local citizen bodies, which have been very active in the area.
Anil Bhatia, honorary secretary, MDC, said, “The organisers approached us, but we are very clear that we cannot have such a race here. We have steadfastly ensured that Marine Drive doesn’t host any commercial activity, because this space is meant for the city. Why should we make an exception this time?”
A Vodafone India spokesperson said talks with citizen associations were on.