Despite opposition, Raj inaugurates sports complex at Parel maidan

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 14 Oktober 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Despite opposition from residents, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) inaugurated a slew of projects at Nare Park in Parel on Sunday. MNS president Raj Thackeray performed a bhoomipujan for 13 projects planned in the Sewri assembly constituency, including the controversial sports complex and rainwater harvesting projects at Nare Park.

Alluding to the ire expressed by locals over the sports complex proposal, Thackeray said that he would go ahead with the sports complex project, only if they endorse it.

Earlier, the BMC had warned the BMC that if it still goes ahead with the proposed construction on the 2.5 acre recreation ground (RG), stringent action will be initiated against the party as the project has not been cleared by the building proposals department.

When TOI asked Sanjay Kurhade, assistant municipal commissioner of F-South ward, if the inauguration was illegal, he said, "I cannot comment on if the inauguration was legal or illegal. But if the MNS goes ahead with construction of the sports complex, stringent action will be initiated as there is no permission from the civic building proposals department."

MNS MLA Bala Nandgaonkar had proposed a swanky sports complex , include a state-of-the-art gym, a swimming pool, a cafeteria, a conference room, a computer room, two terrace gardens and a parking plaza for 25-35 vehicles, on the 2.5 acre recreation ground plot at Nare Park. But the Maidan Bachao Samiti and several locals want the project to be scrapped as it would encroach on nearly 40% of the maidan's open space.

On October 12, TOI had reported that MNS group leader Sandeep Deshpande had said that only the rainwater harvesting project would be inaugurated on Sunday, for which the party had the requisite permissions. "But the MNS did an illegal inauguration of the sports complex project too, which does not have the building proposals department's nod. We will continue to oppose," said Sanjay Ambole, local Sena corporator.

Last week, Parel was tense as the Sena agitated against the sports complex and collecting citizens' signatures to scrap the controversial project. The Shiv Sena's worry was not that the project would rob the area of a precious open space, but it suspected that the MNS is pushing to make a dent in the Lalbaug-Parel stretch, the Sena's last bastion, ahead of the 2014 assembly elections. The Sena lost Dadar to the MNS in the 2012 civic elections with Raj's party annexing all the seven wards.

On Sunday, referring to the Sena-MNS tension, Raj said his party wasn't going to clash with Maharashtrians. The MNS was launched to taken on anti-Maharashtra forces, he added.

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