Union Minister Nitin Gadkari hit out at the Navy,
asking why its officials need to stay in posh South Mumbai and criticising it
for opposing the construction of a jetty at Nariman Point.
“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,” Gadkari said.
The minister’s public displeasure comes in the
backdrop of the Navy declining permission for building a floating jetty at
Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, where a floating hotel and seaplane service are
The Bombay high court had refused permission to a
private company for the construction of the jetty because it did not have the
no-objection certificate (NoC) from the Western Naval Command.
As part of Gadkari’s plan to promote tourism, a
private firm, Rashmi Development Private Limited, proposed to build a jetty to
ferry its passengers to its five star floatel in the Arabian Sea.
What has the Navy to do with Malabar
Hill?...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,” said the minister at a function where he laid the foundation stone
for an international cruise terminal at Mumbai Port Trust.
Gadkari said he chairs a committee for stalled
infrastructure projects, adding that projects are cleared “as soon as they come
on the agenda”.
“We are the government. The Navy and the defense
ministry are not the government,” he said.
South Mumbai is home to a sizeable 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.
Sources said the government should prepare a list
of various developmental projects in the country that could not take off as
defense ministry which holds a large parcel of public land has declined