Government ‘rejected' Tendulkar's request for FSI-free gymnasium

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday flayed the State government for “refusing” floor space index (FSI) clearance to Sachin Tendulkar for the construction of a gymnasium in his house, currently being reconstructed.

The master blaster had requested the government for FSI-free gymnasium. Referring to media reports, Mr. Thackeray said: “When people come from outside and stay illegally on encroached land, the government builds them houses. But when someone like Sachin Tendulkar asks for some 300 square feet, he is denied permission. This is really shameful.”

The MNS chief would be writing to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and to all political parties asking them to grant Sachin's request. Other States would have readily agreed to a simple request from a player of his stature, he said.

Mr. Thackeray also targeted the NCP and the ICC president Sharad Pawar. “The NCP has half the share in the government. Do you think Mr. Pawar does not know of Sachin's request?” he asked.

“If this is the treatment accorded to Sachin by the Maharashtra government, then what about other players? Who has checked what FSI rules others have violated in their bungalows? Who would have checked Sachin's bungalow for that matter? But it's not his nature [to be dishonest]. We see the rising clout of TDR [transfer of development right] and FSI sellers. But if an honest person asks for something officially, you reject it,” Mr. Thackeray said.

In response to a question on Pakistani players, the MNS chief said whether India and Pakistan should play and whether Pakistan should come here as part of the World Cup tournament are two different issues. “How can you oppose [the Pakistani team]? After all, this is the World Cup. If we are talking of removing the team from the World Cup, that's another matter for discussion,” he said.