Mumbai

Aquarium can be on Mahalaxmi Race Course land: CM

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RWITC land is one of three proposed locations

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has suggested the Royal Western Indian Turf Club (RWITC) or the Mahalaxmi Race Course in south Mumbai as a possible location for a multi-level aquarium. The CM has suggested two other locations — land belonging to the Mumbai Port Trust in Ballard Pier and another property of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority at Bandra Kurla Complex — sources said.

“The Chief Minister has suggested the three locations. We will wait for him to announce this. It is his prerogative. He seems to have a lot of ideas for the city and the development of tourist spots. We will discuss the availability of land at these sites with the respective agencies,” said an official.

The Shiv Sena has for long demanded the taking back of land from the RWITC and converting it into a theme park. The lease of the club had expired after completion of 99 years in 2013. About 8 lakh sq.m. of racecourse land belongs to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the State government jointly. Both the BMC and State are controlled by the Sena, and can now take over the land since they also share a revenue deal between them.

Mr. Thackeray issued directives on Monday to State Tourism Department officials asking them to scale up the size of the project to match or beat Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World in Thailand, the largest multi-level aquarium in South Asia. It covers 1.1 lakh sq. ft. and hundreds of species are displayed under 50 lakh litres of water. Through educational programmes, the aquarium promotes an appreciation of the aquatic environment.

The CM has directed officials to present the proposal to him at the earliest and shortlist a location for the aquarium either in south Mumbai or the suburbs, officials said. Mr. Thackeray told officials Mumbai is a city of international standards and new attractions would have to be developed to woo tourists. The State has already developed a cruise terminal of global standards and having an aquarium would add another landmark to the city’s long list of tourist attractions, he told officials.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 8:07:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/aquarium-can-be-on-mahalaxmi-race-course-land-cm/article30153916.ece

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