Ward 70 corporator manages to clear encroachments from 17,986-sq-ft plot
After a 49-year-long wait, followed by another year of keeping encroachers at bay, Vile Parle West residents will finally be able to access a garden plot due to efforts of their local corporator.
Ward 70’s BJP corporator, Sunita Rajesh Mehta, managed to fight slum encroachment on 17,986 sq ft of land on the Irla Passage Road, behind Saraswati building.
“We learnt that the plot was lying vacant and the BMC was not even aware they were in possession of this land. The civic body had acquired it in 1970. Considering the paucity of open spaces in the city, and rising pollution levels, developing gardens is the need of hour,” Mehta said.
Activist Godfrey Pimenta said since her election, Mehta had constantly been following up with the city survey office, as well as Konkan Bhavan, about the plot and its history.
“Mehta finally got the documents , and it was established that the plot belonged to the BMC and had been in its possession since 1992,” Pimenta said.
On January 22, Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner, K West Ward, decided to fence in the plot. The BMC has put up a board, claiming possession, and will build a boundary wall and a jogging track on the land.
“This plot is also reserved as a garden in the revised DP (2034). For one year, it was open and had been encroached upon by shanties. We conducted demolitions twice. The BMC had acquired the plot in 1970, and in 1992, it was in the BMC’s possession.
The area behind Dhobi Ghat in Vile Parle is devoid of gardens, and those which used to be there were used to implement SRA schemes. There is a dearth of open spaces,” Mehta said.
For Lalit Bhambhani of Kripa Nagar, Vile Parle West, who has been living in the area for 45 years, this garden will be an oasis. “We don’t have any park in the vicinity. We have to go to a park on 5th and 6th Road in Juhu Scheme; the other garden is in Vile Parle East. We need this green lung, especially for senior citizens,” Bhambhani said.
Suhas Phalnikar, secretary, Sneha Dhara Society, which has 16 buildings, in Vile Parle West, said, “It is a great achievement by our local corporator. They have been struggling to find out about the records of this land. For so many years, nobody had taken the initiative to get the plot developed.
A lot of illegal activities were going on, including thefts. But the local corporator managed to get rid of encroachments. They are constructing a fence and putting up a board, which will add to beauty of our locality,” Phalnikar said.
We learnt that the plot was lying vacant and the BMC was not even aware they were in possession of this land.