The role of a former city mayor has come under scanner for allegedly sharing a piece of public plot with a private builder at a time when the city is starving for open spaces.
Shiv Sena leader Datta Dalvi (in pic), who was the mayor during 2005-2007, is alleged to have helped a developer grab portion of a plot located along the busy Mulund-Goregaon Link Road (MGLR) in Bhandup.
A trust, Shri Datta Krida Prabodhini, managed by Dalvi maintains the BMC-owned playground named Godavari Dhondiram Patil. And on the plot adjacent to the playground, (measuring 12,950 sq m), a private party, Kamla Mahesh Developers, is set to construct a residential structure.
“Dalvi has helped the developer gain access to his upcoming residential project through the public ground. How can somebody who was once the city’s mayor do that?” Rakesh Shetty, youth president of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), asked.
Shetty also said the builder had constructed the approach road illegally to make a higher monetary gain. “This plot originally had access to LBS Marg through an industrial patch on the other side.
But giving access through an industrial area will mean low saleable value. If the property has access to MGLR, his profit would double as the current market rate along that stretch is Rs18,000 to Rs20,000 per sqft,” Shetty said.
Shetty, a local resident, had raised the issue with senior civic officials, including the municipal chief, seeking a stay on the construction and a probe into the matter. However, there has been no response, he claimed.
“The BMC is set to lose at least 15,000 sqft of public land if it ignores my complaint. We insist the roles of Datta Dalvi, the officials concerned, as well as the developer be investigated under the MRTP Act. The Crime Branch too should probe the issue,” he added.
Despite repeated calls and messages, Dalvi and Jeetu Jain of Kamla Mahesh Developers remained unavailable for comment.
On being asked, additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas said he would look into the matter. “I will look into it. If anyone is found to be at fault, action will be taken,” Srinivas said.
The BMC has only 14 open spaces, including six playgrounds, in the S ward, where the playground in question is situated.
According to the preparatory report compiled by the BMC ahead of revision of city’s development plan for 2014-34, the open space available in Mumbai per person is only 0.84 sqm.