Four residents groups in Kurla oppose Dharavi resettlement on dairy land | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Four residents groups in Kurla oppose Dharavi resettlement on dairy land

Jun 14, 2024 08:41 AM IST

In December 2023, chief minister Eknath Shinde appointed the MMRDA as a Special Planning Authority (SPA), with plans to use the land as a mini BKC

Mumbai: Marking their distinction from the political protest, four resident groups in Kurla - with a total strength of 10,000 - plan to get together to discuss their action plan in opposing the use of the dairy land in Nehru Nagar for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project.

Residents of Kurla Nehru Nagar stage the protest against the state government's decision to hand over 8.5 hectares of Kurla Dairyland to Adani`s Dharavi Redevelopment project. June 13, 2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Residents of Kurla Nehru Nagar stage the protest against the state government's decision to hand over 8.5 hectares of Kurla Dairyland to Adani`s Dharavi Redevelopment project. June 13, 2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

“We oppose all plans for development in the plot,” said Kiran Paliwan, from the group Lok Chalwal. “All we’re demanding is a public park to come up in the place of the dairy, as there are already 800 to 900 trees there, along with some sporting facilities.”

“We do not want a concrete jungle in the place of the vibrant greenery we have here over the 8.515 hectare,” said Prasad Viswanathan, secretary of the group Jaago Nehru Nagar Residents Welfare Association. “We’ve fought to save this land all this while, and this is the newest plan for it.”

Explaining the tussle over the plot, explained Nilesh Kamble from Lok Chalwal, “The Mother Dairy started in 1974. It was implemented well for several years following the establishment. Around 15-20 years ago, it was shut. This land has been empty for the most part since.”

Part of the dairy’s land was taken for the metro line 2B, where work has started. Then, in December 2023, chief minister Eknath Shinde appointed the MMRDA as a Special Planning Authority (SPA), with plans to use the land as a mini BKC.

“Kurla is already so cramped, and a mini BKC would make it more crowded,” added Kamble.

In March, the group had written to the Shiv Sena MLA Mangesh Kudalkar opposing the plan of a “mini BKC” at the plot. It highlighted the need for open spaces in the area, particularly in the context of the population growth in the area and the resulting vehicle and traffic burden.

It wrote, “In the next four to five years, due to the increase in redevelopment of buildings, the metro station near the dairy will have to bear the burden of population, traffic and cattle congestion.”

Pointing out that there are only two sports grounds in the entirety of Nehru Nagar, it demanded that the space be reserved for a public park.

Their signature campaign garnered 10,000 signatures, and the support of the other citizen groups. The plan was however never officially scrapped.

After the protest meeting called by the MLA on Thursday, a few of the residents met to tentatively discuss their plans for their opposition, with a formal meeting on Sunday with all the active groups, including Kurla Nehru Nagar Rehvasi Sangh and Nehru Nagar Nagrik Sangh, in the cards later.

“We are all together, whatever our political inclinations and affiliations. As people who have grown up in Nehru Nagar, we know every inch of it, and we have no intention of letting a massive plot of open land with many trees, combating pollution, for buildings that will increase the population density and crowd Kurla more,” said Viswanathan.

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