March 2, 2017 3:51:39 am
The Bombay High Court has given permission to hold a Grand Prix event at Girgaum Chowpatty from March 3 to 5 on a temporary jetty. The organisers of the event ‘Power Boat’, Procam International Private Limited, had approached the court after the city collector refused to grant permission to hold the event. A High Court appointed high power committee also refused permission to hold the event, following which the organisers approached a division bench of the High Court with a revised proposal. However, the organisers of the powerboat racing event were not granted permission to build their stage on Marine Drive. After a hearing of the high power committee appointed by the High Court, all the members raised their objections to the use of the Marine Drive promenade for the event for three days.
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The court granted permission for the event for the three scheduled days, and directed the organisers to build a temporary jetty and a cabin and ensure that the view of the sea is not blocked. It also wanted the organisers to dismantle the temporary arrangements within 48 hours after the event concludes.
A division bench of justices V M Kanade and P R Bora came down heavily on the BMC and the Mumbai Collector for obstructing the event over petty reasons when there are pressing issues which it said needs to be taken care of by the authorities. Justice Kanade said, “There is unauthorised construction and bad roads in the city. Instead of resolving these critical issues that bother the citizens, the civic body wants to deprive people of an international boating event.” The court also pointed out that when the government has grand plans to develop tourism in the state, holding up an event of this kind was unwarranted. “This is a very narrow-minded approach. The collector should have approached the court before refusing permission,” said Justice Kanade.
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The organisers conducted a presentation on the plans for the event to the committee members, which included municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, commissioner of police Dattatray Padsalgikar and chairperson of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee Ramanath Jha, on Wednesday. The members, however, said that since the promenade is a heritage precinct, it cannot be closed to the public for three days.
A civic official who also attended the meeting said that the members were apprehensive that granting permission to this event would be a precedent for other functions in the future. “If we have refused to grant permission to the open air gymnasiums and changing the colour of the LED lights, how can the promenade be closed to the public for three days. The sanctity of the heritage precinct has to be maintained,” said one member. The official said that Padsalgikar raised concerns about traffic management in Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road as it is a busy route.
According to the presentation, the organisers wanted to build a stage on an area of 7,500 square feet which will include a platform for the LED screen, a technical watch tower, a medical station, a generator van, a television camera platform, chemical toilets and a radio studio, among other structures.
Arvind Reddy, coordinator of Procam, said that he was confident that the event would be conducted. “We have received a favourable response from the court but are waiting for the court order. As for Marine Drive, we are yet to receive any formal communication from the committee,” he said.
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