Khadi Gram Udyog stakes claim on land parcel used by Worli Sports Club | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Khadi Gram Udyog stakes claim on land parcel used by Worli Sports Club

Feb 15, 2024 08:12 AM IST

On Wednesday, members of the club, local residents and players gathered at the maidan to protest KGUM’s latest act. The ground is used by Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) cricketers, kabbadi and football players, and citizens for daily walks

Mumbai: The Khadi Gram Udyog Mandal (KGUM), Mumbai, has marked out a portion of Adarsh Nagar playground, famously known as the Worli Sports Club ground, as its own. This is the second time since 2002 that it has put a claim on the land parcel.

Mumbai, India. Feb 14,2024 - Khadi Gram Udyog tried to install the poles and fence out of a portion of the Worli Sports club ground at Worli in Mumbai. Feb 14,2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India. Feb 14,2024 - Khadi Gram Udyog tried to install the poles and fence out of a portion of the Worli Sports club ground at Worli in Mumbai. Feb 14,2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

Approximately 50 years ago, KGUM had signed a lease agreement with Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for the land, which makes them rightful owners of a portion of the playground measuring 1647.10 square meters. Although it was a residential allotment, it remained unused by KGUM.

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On Tuesday, members of the organisation placed iron poles on the ground making a clear demarcation between what they consider theirs and the part owned by the club. It came in the open when Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray posted the development on X in the evening. “It is shocking that such activities to divide and sell Mumbai’s open spaces are happening in daylight. It is truly a BJP sponsored regime of suit boot and not the common citizens. Every bit of such a blatant attempt to snatch our city’s land from us will be vehemently opposed,” read Thackeray’s post.

On Wednesday, members of the club, local residents and players gathered at the maidan to protest KGUM’s latest act. The ground is used by Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) cricketers, kabbadi and football players, and citizens for daily walks.

Abhay Hadap, councillor of MCA told HT: “Worli Sports Club has existed for 70 years. One part of the maidan was allotted to KGUM some 50 years back. There was a residential allotment, but it wasn’t utilised. So, it was reserved as a playground on the development plan.”

Hadap said the plot is in the centre of the maidan where MCA conducts various matches. “Our boundary line becomes shorter as a part of maidan is reduced. We told them not to demarcate and construct any wall, but keep it open as they have not used it for 50 years. They had placed iron poles and nets with police bandobast to barricade on Monday, but the boys had removed it. Our endeavour is to save dwindling open spaces as there is already a dearth of it,” he added.

Local players throng to the ground every Sunday and on holidays for practice sessions. It is here that the National Women’s Kabaddi tournament was held, and other sports competitions are held throughout the year. Divisional schools conduct competitions, while for the last 25 years, MCA’s selection test competition for boys is also held here. Legendary players like Indian captain Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Prithvi Shaw have played tournaments on this ground.

Former deputy mayor and corporator Hemangi Worlikar told HT, “This is the only playground we have in our area. People from all over Prabhadevi and Worli use this space for football and cricket.” He added that the demarcation would “hamper sporting activities”.

Those who gathered on the ground on Wednesday discussed if they should scale up the issue to the police or initiate a signature campaign. “Our MLA Aaditya Thackeray had laid a stormwater drain line, beautified the maidan with grass, created a jogging track, walkways with lights where citizens walk post dinner,” said Worlikar.

Santoshkumar Dhonde, assistant commissioner, G south ward, said since the portion of land belongs to KGUM, it was not up to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take any action. When HT reached out to Vimala R, CEO, KGUM, she said, “I have to find out about the issue as I am not in Mumbai today. The portion which is marked belongs to Khadi Gram Udyog.”

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