CHAITANYA MARPAKWAR Mumbai
In yet another stunning disclosure regarding the scamtainted Adarsh Society, it has now come to light that a military guesthouse was to come up on the controversial plot of land where the 31- storey Adar
sh building now stands. However, the proposal was rejected on the pretext of widening of Captain Prakash Pethe Marg, but eventually the roadwidening plan was also scrapped and the plot was later handed over to the Adarsh CHS. This was revealed in a 1989 letter, written by the then Collector of Bombay to the Additional Chief Secretary ( Revenue) of the Maharashtra government.
The letter is part of Major ( retd) S K Lambas ( Mumbai Citizens Groups) affidavit filed before the Adarsh Inquiry Commission last month. Significantly, the letter also states that though the land belongs to the State government it was in occupation of the military since 1940.Back in December 1989 the then Collector of Bombay had written to the Additional Chief Secretary ( Revenue) of the Maharashtra government, informing him about the issue: Grant of land between Backbay Bus Depot and Prakash Pethe Marg in Colaba to the Bombay City Sainik Welfare Board for the construction of a Rest House for Ex- servicemen.The 3- page letter, which is part of Lambas affidavit, reveals that the Secretary of the City Sainik Welfare Board had made an application to the Collector on November 14, 1985 for allotment of land in Block VI in Colaba for construction of a Rest House for Ex- servicemen.
The land demanded by the Sainik Board is government land and reclaimed land and covers the entire area of widening of 200 m of Prakash Pethe Marg, the letter reads. Further the Collector writes that since the land fell under the BBR ( Back Bay Reclamation) Estate, the matter was referred to the Metropolitan Commissioner of the BMRDA ( now MMRDA) and the BMC for their remarks. After which the Chief Town Planner of the BMRDA had recommended to not allot land since it was to be affected by the roadwidening.
In view of the remarks offered by the BMC and the BMRDA, the request of the Bombay City Sainik Welfare Board has been rejected ( by the Collector) on March 4, 1986, the letter informs.
Further it states, Now this matter has been again taken up with the Minister of State ( MoS) for General Administration ( GAD) by Brig A S Samra.
The issue has been discussed with the MoS who has decided to refer it to the Revenue and Forests Department. Significantly, the letter mentions an important point about the occupation of the land by the military since 1940. The land in question is in possession of the military department since 1940 and since the military area begins from the demanded land, military authorities have suggested that they do not need the road to be widened. If the land is granted to them, it would fulfill their longstanding demand. Adding that if the Revenue Department principallyaccepts the proposal of the Sainik Board to construct the rest house, a detailed proposal would be worked on.
In yet another stunning disclosure, it has now come to light that a military guest house was to come up on the controversial plot of land