Doubting why all Navy officials need to stay in posh south Mumbai, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday that “not an inch” of land would be given to Navy to make flats or quarters in the area. “Actually, Navy is needed at the borders from where terrorists sneak in. Why does everyone (in the Navy) want to stay in South Mumbai? They (Navy) had come to me, asking for a plot (of land). I will not give even an inch of land. Please don’t come to me again,” the minister said.
Gadkari made the comments at a public event here in presence of Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Girish Luthra. The minister’s public displeasure comes following of the Navy declining permission for building a floating jetty at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, where a floating hotel and seaplane service are planned. Gadkari said, “Everyone wants to build quarters and flats on south Mumbai’s prime land. We do respect you (Navy), but you should go to the Pakistan border and do patrolling.” The minister added that a few important and senior officials can stay in Mumbai, adding that land on the eastern seafront being jointly developed by the state-run Mumbai Port Trust and the Maharashtra government would be used only for the benefit of local residents.
South Mumbai is house to a large presence of the Navy and houses the headquarters of the Western Naval Command as well as the naval residential quarters at Navy Nagar in Colaba in South Mumbai. He said that “I heard that you (Navy) gave a stay to the floating jetty plan at Malabar Hill, despite it getting the high court’s nod”. Alleging that stopping such developmental work has become a habit, the minister amazed what has the Navy to do with the Malabar Hill area which is mainly a private residential zone also having official residences of Maharashtra governor and chief minister. Inviting the Navy for talks to come out for a solution on the issue, Gadkari said that “Where is the Navy at Malabar Hill? There is no Navy at Malabar Hill and the Navy has nothing to do in the area”.