Mumbai News: Racecourse Calls EGM To Discuss ‘Theme Park’ Plan

Mumbai News: Racecourse Calls EGM To Discuss ‘Theme Park’ Plan

According to the notice, the meeting has been called to pass a resolution to authorise the managing committee to enter into an agreement for renewal of the lease agreement with the BMC on certain terms and conditions

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Monday, January 08, 2024, 10:30 PM IST
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Mahalaxmi Racecourse | File Photo

Mumbai: The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has convened an extraordinary meeting of its general body on January 30 following the state government’s controversial move to take away a chunk of the racecourse land at Mahalaxmi apparently to build a “theme park”.

According to the notice, a copy of which has been obtained by The Free Press Journal, the meeting has been called to pass a resolution to authorise the managing committee to enter into an agreement for renewal of the lease agreement with the BMC on certain terms and conditions.

120 acres of land to be utilised for a public park

As per discussions already held between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and BMC Commissioner IS Chahal, of the total area of 211 acres, 120 will be utilised for a public park and the remaining 91 acres will remain with the racecourse. In return, the RWITC will have its lease renewed up to May 31, 2053.

Several activists have criticised this move since it is being made without any consultation with citizens. The details of the proposed “theme park” are also not available. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray has been in the forefront of a campaign against the proposal. The general impression is that the authorities have used the lease issue to take away a large chunk of land.

Shyam Mehta, president of the Amateur Riders’ Club (ARC), strongly criticised the move. “It is unfortunate that despite being fully aware that the ARC has been in use and occupation of the racecourse for decades and has produced Olympic and Asian Games riders and gold medallists and has over 200 horses in the racecourse and 1,400 members, the government / BMC has not deemed it fit to take us into confidence,” he said.

"We may have to explore legal remedies"

“They have not even bothered to reply to our letter. Now suddenly we find that we do not feature anywhere in the plan for the racecourse. This may leave us with no option but to explore legal remedies.”

On January 4, Mehta wrote to the chief secretary and the municipal commissioner that the ARC has been operating from the racecourse for the past 82 years. It is the premier equestrian and polo club of India. The club maintains several riding arenas and polo fields at the centre of the racecourse. It also looks after the land around the polo fields, which is used by the public for football, cricket, walking, yoga, jogging, etc.

Mehta said the ARC maintained 213 stables in the racecourse and hoped that they will remain undisturbed.

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