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ILLEGAL GARDEN AT HOLDING POND IN VASHI CASE REACHES MUMBAI HIGH COURT

holding-pound-1On the lame excuse of protest from local residents and corporators, NMMC administration was showing hesitance in removing the illegal garden built on the holding pond at Vashi. However when social activist Sandeep Thakur filed a petition in High Court, City Engineer Mohan Dagaonkar reportedly assured that the illegal garden would be removed before May 10. After Fortis, this has become another blotch on the style of functioning and practices of the NMMC administration. This is an illegal garden. It’s graver than it looks as it built within a holding pond reducing its original capacity. Anyone would naturally think that NMMC would take action against this illegal garden but in this case they can’t. The reason is a shocker – because NMMC’s the one that has built this illegal garden within the holding pond of Mini Seashore at Vashi. Despite the significance of this holding pond, a few years ago, under clear pressure from the former local corporator of the area Avinash Lad, the corporators-officials nexus plaguing NMMC got to work and floated a plan to fill a portion of the holding pond and convert it into a garden. Over the last few years, NMMC has spent lacs of the tax payer’s money to fill up 85 000 sq. ft. of this holding pond and develop thereon a garden admeasuring 30000 sq.ft. As a result the capacity of the holding pond has dangerously reduced while the threat of flooding to the surrounding sectors has increased tremendously. However, this misuse of public funds would have never been exposed had it not been for social activist Sandeep Thakur. Soon after Sandeep Thakur took the matter up with City Engineer Mohan Dagaonkar, Executive Engineer Neerpagare was asked to investigate the same. And in his report, the engineering department confirmed that the NMMC had in fact converted a part of the holding pond in violation of the agreement with CIDCO and the same report also stated that this was done at the instance of the local corporator Avinash Lad. Later Commissioner Vijay Nahata visited site and reportedly ordered his department to restore the pond. The order was given in the month of April. However the Commissioner’s subordinates did not follow their Chief’s instruction giving the lam excuse of facing protest from locals. Sandeep Thakur says that he decided to move to court when it came to his knowledge that NMMC was spending Rs. 65 lacs on cleaning of the holding pond adjacent to the church at Sector 8, while they were neglecting the bigger holding pond where the cleaning of debris and removal of garden will cost NMMC only Rs. 8 lakhs. Sandeep Thakur says that the contract-oriented NMMC is spending lakhs of tax payer’s money in cleaning one holding pond while the bigger pond connected to this is being filled with debris. The moment the NMMC administration found out that Sandeep Thakur has gone to court, they woke up to the calls of their duty and said that they will remove the illegal garden before May 10. However, even though the NMMC administration has assured the social activist of removing the illegal garden, Sandeep Thakur says that he does not trust NMMC. The intelligent brains in NMMC administration always take credit for the smallest of achievements of NMMC but every time it is a question to render justice to the actual public issues like Fortis, this illegal holding pond or parking violations at Hotel Tunga – it takes a petition by a social activist and a High Court order for NMMC administration to fulfill the calls of their duty. Sana Warsia – NMTV News.

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