HC clubs Worli towers’ hearings

The contentious matter of a chawl in Worli, which is the proposed site of a 70-storey tower, but which overlooks a naval base, will be heard by the Bombay high court on January 24 along with the case of Harsiddhi Heights in Worli, mired in controversy for being too close to the same naval base.
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Updated on Jan 22, 2011 01:44 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByUrvi Mahajani, Mumbai

The contentious matter of a chawl in Worli, which is the proposed site of a 70-storey tower, but which overlooks a naval base, will be heard by the Bombay high court on January 24 along with the case of Harsiddhi Heights in Worli, mired in controversy for being too close to the same naval base.

A petition in the case was filed in June 2010. But, as it did not come up for hearing, Ashish Mehta, the petitioner’s advocate, mentioned it before the division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar.

The petitioner, Subodh Khochare, a resident of a BMC chawl at Worli, has filed a plea seeking revocation of the no-objection certificate (NOC) given by the Navy to the redevelopment of the chawl where a 70-storey tower is to come, alleging that certain naval officer blatantly flouted rules and made incorrect statements that the building was not within 300 metres of the naval base, for financial gain.

The Indian Navy has five sites at Worli — Site-1, Site-2, Site-3, Site-4 and Site-5. The most sensitive of these is Site-2.

Khochare's one-storey BMC chawl at Worli has been undertaken for redevelopment by AA Estate. The project comprises three buildings — one for rehabilitation of tenants, a second building (70 storeys) will be for sale and a third building will be a Welfare Centre.

Apprehending that the project could be stalled at a later stage following concerns of national security and whenever the violations came to light, Khochare sought that the NOC be revoked.

“Should the ground floor structure, where the petitioner lives, be demolished during the course of redevelopment, and should the project get stalled midway, then the petitioner will have to languish in the transit camp for an indefinite period,” the petition states.

The BMC's Improvement Committee had approved the development plans of its chawl known as Worli Labour Camp on Sasmira Road in March 24, 2006. Following a government resolution in June 2008, directing that all constructions coming up within 300 metres of INS Trata would require an NOC from the Navy, the corporation asked the developer to approach the Navy for an NOC.

The Navy, on June 19, 2009, granted NOC to the building stating that it was more than 300 metres from INS Trata.

Khochare’s petition alleges that the building is only about 125 to 150 metres from Site-2 of INS Trata.

The petition alleges that certain naval officers fraudulently gave an NOC. Khochare had also lodged a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in August 2009 seeking action against the concerned officers. The CBI referred the matter to the Ministry of Defence, New Delhi vide letter dated October 19, 2009.

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