Land Doesn't Belong to Defence Dept: Adarsh Society

Land Doesn't Belong to Defence Dept: Adarsh Society
Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society today claimed that the land where its controversial 31-storey building stands belongs to the Maharashtra government, saying that it has not encroached "even an inch" of any land for the construction purpose.

"The fact is that no Defence land has been grabbed, not even an inch has been encroached upon by Adarsh Society. The Defence has nothing to do with the land in question," Adarsh president, Brig M M Wanchu (Retd) said in a statement here.

A controversy has erupted over how the Adarsh Society in Colaba, originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows, got converted into a 31-storey building.

"It has been alleged that the state government while allotting (the land) has laid down that this land was reserved only for Kargil war widows or girls' hostel. This is factually not correct and baseless," Wanchu said.

The land on survey number 652, Colaba Division, forming part of Block VI is state government's land, which was allotted to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) and left out for road widening, he said.

"The land was subsequently allotted to the society because the project of road widening was abandoned as a result of a ban on reclamation in 1991," he said.

The society has obtained necessary clearances from the authorities before going ahead with construction work.

"Possession of land was handed over by the city collector on October 4, 2004, building plan was approved by MMRDA, while the CRZ clearance was obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Also, the height of the building -- 103.4 metres -- was approved by the High Rise Committee," he said.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) had written to the deputy registrar, A Ward, for the first time Aug 27, 2009, seeking details of the society, Wanchu said.

"Persons staying in the building or the members have been approved by the government and their antecedents have been properly verified and checked by the state authorities," he said.

On allegations that the society was a threat to security, Wanchu pointed out that there were no naval establishment areas near Adarsh Society.

"Instead, there are two other high rises constructed by Pilot Bunder Co-operative Housing Society headed by Retd Admiral Karmakar -- Oyster and Dolphin -- which are situated in the heart of the Army area and next to Indian Naval Hospital- ASVINI. The navy should be concerned about these two towers and not the Adarsh tower, which is far away from them," he noted.

"The reasons are best known to officials, as to why no objection has been ever raised by the navy prior to September 2009, when the building was completed. It will be a sheer incorrect statement to make that either the navy or other authorities have ever raised any security concerns about Adarsh Society," Wanchu added.
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