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TMC starts work on Bollywood Park without acquiring plot; mayor orders probe

The plot where the park is being constructed has been reserved for mass transit project

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2018 23:59 IST
Megha Pol
Megha Pol
Hindustan Times
Thane,TMC,Bollywood Park
Work in progress at Bollywood Park at Vartak Nager in Thane. (Praful Gangurde /HT)

News that could bring embarrassment revelation to Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), it has come to the fore that the civic body initiated work on Bollywood theme park without acquiring the plot officially. The information came to light in the general body meeting held on Friday following which mayor ordered an inquiry.

The plot where the park is being constructed has been reserved for High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) project. The corporation has floated tenders worth more than ₹20 crore for this project.

To increase the green cover Thane, TMC proposed 21 theme parks in the city in 2014. The corporation has already opened the Old Thane New Thane Park for the public, while the work on the Bollywood theme Park was started two years in Vartak Nagar. The park is supposed to host sets of popular Bollywood films.

Shiv Sena corporator Asha Dongare said, “For the past one-and-a-half year, almost nothing has happened at the construction site. However, officials have already paid the contractor ₹6.68 crore for recreating film sets at his Karjat workshop. The plot has become a hotspot for addicts.”

BJP corporator Milind Patankar revealed the land where the park is being developed is yet to be acquired by TMC. “The land is reserved for mass transit project. Without acquiring the land, how can the corporation float tenders and start work.”

Leader of the House Naresh Mhaske said the corporation had misled the general body by hiding the fact that the plot is reserved and yet to be officially acquired.

The administration, however, said the money was paid after confirming that the film sets are completed.

“Bollywood theme park was approved in 2014, when the budget estimate for the park was ₹15.90 crore. There was an HCMTR route passing through the area. However, there was a garden in the area that we thought could be saved by converting it into a theme park. The sets are all foldable and can be transported to different places if the issue of land arises in future,” said Mohan Kallal, executive engineer.

He added the project was supposed to be carried out under public-private partnership, but TMC did not get any response so it decided to fund the project on its own.

“We tabled a revised budget of ₹20.61 crore in November 2015, which the general body approved. Tenders were floated in June 2016. The proposal had clearly stated all the facts. The general body wasn’t deceived in any way,” Kallal said.

Although the park was supposed to be inaugurated in March, the corporation now claims that the deadline has been extended to November 2019.

Mayor Meenakshi Shinde, who has ordered an inquiry, said, “Something seems to be amiss. A committee will soon be formed to find out the truth. The corporation is spending crores of rupees on theme parks despite being unable to allocate funds for cleaning drains and building roads. The administration is splurging taxpayer’s money on unimportant projects.”


About the park

Name: Bollywood Park, Vartak Nagar

Cost: ₹20.61 crore

Area: 4000 sq m

The park will recreate popular sets of 10 Bollywood movies. Some of the films chosen include Devdas, Traffic signal, Lighthouse, Lagaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. It will also have six life-size statues of popular Bollywood actors, posters of famous movies on the walls of the garden, a 20-feet iron bridge joining two ends of the garden, seating arrangements and aesthetic pathways. TMC will develop a 4D theatre that can host 40 people

Present situation

Gardens: 46

Children’s park: 11

Picnic spots: 3

Grounds: 9

Road islands: 16

Boat clubs: 3

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 23:59 IST