Mumbai: During a meeting with the local residents, Mumbai city guardian minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha on Tuesday suggested them to resort to protests if their point of view on the vexed issue gets rejected. He also asked them to form a committee for interacting with the authorities concerned. Notably, some residents are already a part of the core committee which has suggested shifting the project elsewhere to save axing of 389 trees in Hanging Gardens.
Who is the final authority to decide, questions Bana
While the BMC has formed a technical committee to decide on reconstruction or repair of Malabar Hill Reservoir (MHR), the municipality has still continued with the work. Just 15-20 residents turned up to meet Lodha at Hanging Gardens. Core committee member Sarosh Bana said, “Lodha said that if whatever proposed by the public was to be rejected then he would launch 'andolan' if he was in their place.”
However, Bana questioned that if not the BMC, Lodha and Deepak Kesarkar then who is the final authority to decide the issue. “A lot is riding on this project. Elections are round the corner and the cost has escalated from Rs308 crore to Rs698 crore in three years. Why does a plan like this even come up in the first place? The beautiful heritage garden with ancient trees, which is one of the rare open green spaces for citizens, will be ruthlessly destroyed, possibly forever, and kept closed to the public for seven years.”
Activist and another core committee member Dr Nilesh Baxi said, “We have not been informed by the BMC yet about the technical committee that was supposed to be formed to decide about the reservoir's reconstruction or repair. The report is expected within one month, but owing to the Diwali festival, the process will be further delayed. More people need to be made aware and gathered to save the trees.”