Bandra residents say the installation, unveiled by Sachin Tendulkar, encroaches on walking space
Bandra residents want to hit ‘Bat of Honour’ for a six
Unveiled with great fanfare, the 25-ft bat on Carter Rd promenade is an obstruction in walkers’ eyes
Say the installation, unveiled by Sachin Tendulkar on March 2, encroaches on precious walking space; launch an online petition to have it removed.
Residents of Bandra - especially those who use the Carter Road promenade frequently - are campaigning against the 'Bat of Honour' statute erected to commemorate the career of Sachin Tendulkar. Residents say the installation -- a 25-foot steel bat on a granite platform with two steel plaques on either side -- encroaches on their walking space.
Unveiled by Tendulkar himself on March 2, the statute is already the subject of an online petition by one resident. Other residents, meanwhile, have lodged complaints with various government authorities to have it removed.
The fact that it was an initiative by local MLA Baba Siddhique and the Khar Bandra Santacruz (KBS) Foundation, a residents' group body that has 'adopted' the stretch, has made residents livid, are they feel it encourages the takeover of the city's few remaining walking spaces by oppourtunistic politicians and residents' groups.
Chetan Temkar, co-founder of Mumbai Environment Social Network (MESN) and a regular walker at Carter Road, has started an online petition with the aim of having a group of transport experts meet Tendulkar and explain to him how the statute in his honour causing problems for visitors to the promenade.
Temkar said, "The raised granite platform is a nuisance and creates a bottleneck on an otherwise beautiful stretch. I have spoken to several regular walkers and joggers and everyone is upset. If they were so desperate to install it they could have chosen the end of the promenade or simply used the parapet wall so that the platform did not impede walkers."
Meanwhile, Anil Joseph, chairperson of the Perry Road Residents' Association, has written letters to several authorities, including the chief minister and BMC commissioner. He said, "It's a public space with several stakeholders. As our local MLA (Siddique) was involved, he should have invited objections and suggestions before putting it up," said Joseph.
He added his complaint letters also highlight how KBS Foundation and other bodies that have adopted the promenade have been violating rules by allowing ads to be put up on the stretch.
Activist Aftab Siddiqui said, "We are not against Sachin as he would not have been aware of the ground realities; our anger is towards KBS Foundation and Baba Siddique, who have been encouraging the use of the promenade for various promotional events. We have also submitted a complaint, with pictures, of how advertisements are being put up on the promenade."
Rishi Agarwal, founder of the Mumbai Walking Project, said, "I have seen the pictures and heard from local residents, who are upset at this new form of encroachment. We will plan a protest so that elected representatives realise that they simply can't take unilateral decisions."
Hitting back at the criticism, Baba Siddique said, "Bandra is proud of Sachin, who is an icon. Every resident is happy with the installation, which is located such that it will not obstruct any person. There are few sadists like Anil and Aftab who for the sake of politics raise these issues to get publicity. But if there are some who have issues with the raised platform, we will look into it."