Mahalaxmi Race Course may not after all shift to the now defunct Mulund dumping ground. The state government is on the verge of finalising the plan for the race course and the proposed theme park to co-exist.
Sources privy to the plans told the Free Press Journal that the revised plans that are in the works would not impact the derby races and stables that are inherent part of the race course.
Government yet to approach Royal Western India Turf Club
“The areas outside of the racing zone would be developed. We are looking at a design wherein the theme park planned at the race course can be connected or merged with gardens and the open areas of the under construction Coastal Road,” said a high ranking source. The official added that if these two areas are merged, it has the potential to create a 350-acre theme park for the public.
However, the government is yet to formally approach the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) representatives with the plan to iron out the differences between them and convince the former to part with a portion of the open space.
Earlier this year, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray had criticised the state government over the proposal alleging that the government worked for builders and their commercial interests, not Mumbaikars. According to Thackeray, the current dispensation wants to “destroy Mumbai’s open spaces”.
Civic body owns one-third of land
The contentious issue came to the fore on the expiry of the lease of Mahalaxmi Race Course plot and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai had initially planned to build an amusement park. Spread over 8.55 lakh sqm in 1914, the land parcel was leased out to RWITC for a period of 99 years.
As per land records, the civic body owns around one-third of the land parcel, and the balance by the state government.
“The racecourse also holds heritage within it. The idea was to create an urban green space open for children, elderly, runners, yoga lovers, music lovers, artists and pets and horse lovers, too. A free open urban green park for all. Now we read that 'khoke sarkar' wants to build a theme park. It’s unfortunate that they want to destroy Mumbai’s open spaces,” Aaditya had tweeted earlier this year.