Navy peeved at Mumbai skyscraper, ministry examines issue

Mumbai/New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) The construction of a residential skyscraper in Mumbai’s Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) has raised the hackles of India’s Western Naval Command (WNC) and responding to the navy’s security concerns Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday said the government is ‘seriously’ looking into the matter.

The 100-metre-tall building, Adarsh Housing Society, is 31-storeyed and flat owners in it include former army and navy chiefs, top civil and defence officials and politicians.

The WNC objected to the construction allegedly as it also violates the stringent Mumbai Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

Under the Works of Defence Act, 1903, any development, private or public, falling within 1,000 metres of any defence establishment, must get a no objection certificate from the defence ministry.

The defence ministry Monday reacted sharply to the state government’s decision to give a go-ahead to the project.

‘Despite repeated intimations to various concerned departments of the state government not to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) or occupation certificate (OC), temporary or permanent, it has come to the notice of naval authorities last Friday that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has issued an occupation certificate to the Adarsh Society building,’ the ministry said in a statement in New Delhi Monday afternoon.

‘The Indian Navy has again written to all the concerned departments of the state government not to issue an NOC or an OC, temporary or permanent, to the Adarsh Society building,’ the ministry said.

Defence Minister A.K. Anthony too has been apprised of the matter and has taken objection to it.

‘The government is seized of the matter and we are examining (it) seriously,’ Antony told reporters on the sidelines of a two-day Coast Guard Commanders Conference in New Delhi.

However, he did not indicate whether the ministry will order a probe into the alleged role of senior defence officers in the issue amid reports that two former army chiefs and several admirals and generals along with politicians and bureaucrats were among the members of the society located on a prime chunk of government land in south Mumbai’s prestigious Colaba area.

Though defence department and state government sources were unwilling to comment, allegations were being made that some top civil and defence officials connived with politicians to grab the plot meant for a housing scheme for war widows and defence veterans.

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