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RSS says Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park disrupting shakha, seeks alternative plot from BMC

In letter written last year, RSS says BMC allotted a 1,755-square-metre plot at Shivaji Park, near the area where Thackeray’s memorial now stands, to the organisation in 1967.

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Mumbai: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has complained that the memorial of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray at Mumbai’s historic Shivaji Park has been disrupting the outfit’s shakha adjacent to it. It has asked the Mumbai civic body to give it an alternative spot.

The matter was discussed in a letter dated 26 October 2021, from the RSS to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The letter has only come to light now.

In the letter, the RSS wrote that the civic body had allotted a 1,755-square-metre plot at Shivaji Park, near the area where Thackeray’s memorial now stands, to the organisation in 1967.

The organisation said it was paying rent for the land, allotted under a ‘Vacant Land Tenancy’ model, till 2007. The rent collection was halted in 2007 as the BMC wanted to map the area, a task that remains incomplete, the RSS said in the letter.

Under the Vacant Land Tenancy model, the BMC gave land parcels to private entities on temporary leases in the 1960s for a nominal rent. No construction was allowed on such plots. This was discontinued in 1971.

“Despite repeated reminders to the BMC, the mapping of the area is not done and hence, since then, the rent is not being paid. The BMC would not collect rent until the mapping is done and so the rent is outstanding,” the letter, a copy of which is with ThePrint, said.

The RSS has now urged the BMC to complete the land-mapping exercise and give the organisation an alternative plot of equal area so that its activities are not disrupted.

Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar, in-charge of the G North ward, under which Shivaji Park falls, told ThePrint, “Our ward’s role was to verify their claims, which we have found to be correct. We have forwarded their request to the estates department, which is the relevant department for mapping. And a final decision on allotment of any alternative land will be taken by that department.”


Also Read: Why Shivaji Park, where Uddhav will take oath, is so important to Shiv Sena & Thackerays


Facing difficulties in organising programmes’

In the letter sent to the BMC, the RSS has attached the rent receipts for the plot till 2007. It has also attached proof of having paid property tax on the plot till 2011-12.

The Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park came up in 2013, after the Shiv Sena founder’s death in November 2012.

“Because of this (the memorial), we are facing difficulties in organising our programmes there,” the letter claims.

RSS functionary Nitin Mhatre, who wrote the letter to the BMC, told ThePrint, “This is not a complaint and we have not publicised this letter. Instead, we have been taking follow-ups with BMC and BMC is working accordingly.”

Dighavkar said Shivaji Park has many plots that the BMC has allotted on the erstwhile vacant land tenancy model, such as the Shivaji Park Gymkhana and the Bengal Club, and all the plots are yet to be mapped.

“Their request is only that they have some space constraints because of the memorial so they want another land,” he said.

(Edited by Manoj Ramachandran)


Also Read: Narayan Rane visits Bal Thackeray memorial as BJP begins Mumbai civic poll campaign


 

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