Union minister Nitin Gadkari hit out at the Navy on Thursday, asking why all officials need to stay in posh South Mumbai, while 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 planned.
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 defence 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.
(with PTI inputs)