A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against Pratap Sarnaik, a Shiv Sena MLA belonging to Shinde faction alleging that he has usurped a 37,000 sq mtrs plot to construct multi-storey towers. Filed by the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Church, Thane, the PIL filed in Bombay High Court (HC) rued the lack of burial space in Thane city for Christians. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) had reserved 10 plots in two development plans for the city. However, not a single plot has been handed over, they alleged.
Melwyn Fernandes, a petitioner in the PIL said, “When we went to find out the status of the plot at Bhayandar Pada near GB Road, near proposed metro station, we found that the plot is de-reserved by MLA Pratap Sarnaik for his construction firm Vihang Group of Companies for building multi-storey towers. In the last hearing, our advocate Sunita Banis objected to Sarnaik’s move and raised the issue with Chief Justice (CJ) of the HC who immediately ordered and gave liberty to add the construction company as a party. On Monday, we added him as a party for the PIL and sent him notice to appear in court at the next hearing on October 3, 2022.”
Sarnaik was not available for comment despite several attempts to reach him.
The TMC town planning department officials had informed the litigators that the plots were reserved for Sayunkta Smashanbhumi and Smruti Udyan vide letter dated February 12, 2016, which is referred to as the proposed modification. After the proposed modification, the TMC was to provide 8000 sq mtrs for a Hindu crematorium, 3000 sq mtrs for the Dawoodi Bohra community, 3000 sq mtrs for Christians, 2000 sq mtrs for the Jew community, 2000 sq mtrs for Lingayat community and 4000 sq mtrs for other communities. Another 3000 sq mtrs for parking, 10,000 sq mtrs for Smruti Udyan and a buffer zone and 12 mtrs for a wide road, totaling 37,000 sq mtrs, Melwyn Fernandes informed.