August 28, 2016 12:59:43 am
To retain its control over the Parel-Lalbaug area ahead of the civic polls, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray will do a ‘bhoomipujan’ of proposed development works in nine playgrounds and gardens on Sunday with a campaign titled ‘Karun Dakhavla (Yes, We Did It)’.
The nine playgrounds and gardens include Nare Park ground and children’s park, Kamgar maidan, Shantaram Zanj garden, Nayan Karande maidan (also known as Lal maidan), Bhalchandra Maharaj maidan, Manoranjan maidan, Godrej maidan and Subhash Damre garden.
Sena leaders said Aaditya Thackeray would hold the bhoomipujan of all development works in these grounds and gardens.
“All these grounds and gardens will benefit children and senior citizens as well. At two grounds, there will be open gyms for youngsters to exercise and a jogging track for senior citizens. Also, baby-feeding centres and selfie points will be there in two gardens,” said Sanjay Aambole, a local Shiv Sena corporator.
CCTV cameras will be installed in all these grounds and gardens.
“This work was promised by the Sena, which we are delivering. The work will be completed by next year,” said the corporator, adding that beautification work would be taken up at Nare park.
In 2013, Bala Nandgaonkar, former legislator and senior MNS leader, had proposed a sports complex at Nare park, which was mired in a controversy as activists fighting for open spaces and the Shiv Sena opposed the plan. The project included a state-of-the-art gym, a swimming pool, a cafeteria, a conference room, a computer room, two terrace gardens and a parking plaza.
“Since the MNS’s plan would have benefited only the rich people, we opposed it vehemently. Now, we are providing facilities for everyone and not just for the rich. The ground will be available for all,” said Ambole, claiming that the sports complex project has been scrapped by the civic body.
Apart from stating that the project would use up 40 per cent area of the park, Shiv Sena too had opposed the plan, saying it would wipe out Bal Thackeray’s link with Nare Park. In the eighties, the late Sena chief had inaugurated a “vyayamshala” and a study centre at the park.
The MNS’s plan for a sports complex was seen as an attempt to dent the Sena’s stronghold in the Lalbaug-Parel area ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections. In 2012, the Sena lost Dadar to MNS, which won all seven seats.
“At least Rs 7-8 crore has been granted by the state government but the funds are not being utilised. Since I proposed the project, the Sena opposed it. It is in larger public interest. If the next generation of Shiv Sena believes in 100 per cent politics, then let it benefit them. We still believe in Balasaheb’s philosophy of 80 per cent social work and 20 per cent politics. I don’t oppose any work for the sake of it,” said Nandgaonkar.
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