A portion of the proposed garden plot seen from a nearby slum
A portion of the proposed garden plot seen from a nearby slum

The plot will be developed into a garden themed on the Samyukta Maharashtra movement at a cost of Rs 12 crores

Mumbai : Ganpati Bappa’s gift to Mumbai this year is a nine-acre garden plot in Naigaum, not far from Five Gardens.

In a city that is starved of space, this plot which is more than one-third of the size of Oval Maidan, is nothing short of miraculous.

The plot was handed over by Bombay Dyeing to the BMC recently in accordance with the High Court’s orders. Located behind the now-defunct Spring Mills, the plot is flanked by a make-shift slum on either side and a wall in the front.

When this reporter went to the spot on Wednesday afternoon, the private security guards employed by Bombay Dyeing not only denied her entry but also prevented her from photographing the place.

“I am under orders not allow anyone from the media on the premises as it is still to be handed over to the BMC,” said the security officer, Manoj Singh. Singh even ordered this reporter tried to delete the photographs she had taken. All this under the BMC’s board announcing that the plot belonged to it.

The entire project, to be developed into a garden themed on the Samyukta Maharashtra movement will cost Rs 12 crores. It will include a jogging track, an amphitheatre, a cycling track, a Bonsai garden apart from parking facility for visitors.

The BMC has already started the process of issuing tenders, finalising the architect, contractors and consultants for designing the garden and is expected to come about by next year.

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Bombay Dyeing held on  to the plot till the end

In March 2010, the BMC had issued stop-work notices to Bombay Dyeing (which was constructing a housing complex on its Spring Mills plot) after it failed to hand over land at its erstwhile mills in Wadala and Lower Parel that was meant for the BMC and MHADA. Bombay Dyeing challenged the notices in high court.

 In May 2012, the high court ruled that Bombay Dyeing would have to surrender land. The Supreme Court dismissed the textile company’s plea challenging the verdict. The BMC then approved the amalgamation of the Wadala and Lower Parel plots.

Textile workers’ unions then moved the high court claiming that more land was due to come to the BMC and MHADA. They also alleged the value of the land at Lower Parel was worth more than the plot at Wadala. The stalemate ended in November last year when the High Court asked the company to hand over 66,651 sq metres of land to BMC and MHADA.

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