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To make way for cycle track, BMC needs to pedal out encroachers

11:38 PM Aug 24, 2021 | Pratip Acharya

In order to turn the BMC’s cycling track dream into a reality, it will have to first tackle the illegal encroachments that have mushroomed between Bandra and Mahim.

Earlier this month, the BMC had sanctioned a proposal for the construction of a 3.6 km-long cycling track that would connect Mahim Fort with Bandra Fort. The project has been pegged at Rs 168 crore.

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Local corporator, Asif Zakaria has dashed out a letter to the state minister of environment, urging him to incorporate a three-acre plot located behind Bandra Fort for the project. In his letter, Zakaria said the BMC is the owner of this plot which has been encroached upon.

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“Over the last few years, the plot has been encroached. The BMC had conducted an eligibility survey on this land. However, it failed to tackle the encroachment,” Zakaria said.

“The sea-facing plot is located just behind Bandra Fort and overlooks the sealink. Once developed, this could become a tourist attraction,” he said.

However, senior BMC officials said they are unable to carry out demolition work due to prohibitory orders from the High Court. “During a survey, we found that there are only a handful of residents who are legal. The court had ordered a stay on demolition works till August 31. As soon as there is any amendment, we will evict the encroachers,” the official said, adding that the shanties are located on an elevated land, due to which it is a challenge for the BMC to take their machineries there.

Meanwhile, president of Bandra West Resident’s Association, Patricia Nath said this project may lead to an increase in anti-social activities in the neighbourhood.

“Also instead of spending such a large amount on a cycle track, the BMC should work on maintaining the existing open spaces,” she said.

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