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Mahalaxmi Racecourse future unclear amid prolonged RWITC-BMC negotiations


The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been locked in negotiations for nearly five months over the future of the Mahalaxmi racecourse. While the RWITC members approved a deal in January, the proposed agreement has faced hurdles, with the club returning a modified version to the BMC for approval. Amid the uncertainty, the BMC chief's public statements about taking over the racecourse have raised concerns among RWITC members, walkers, and joggers. With the proposed plan involving the conversion of 120 acres into a public park and the remaining 91 acres handed to the RWITC, the club's members are frustrated by the lack of transparency from the managing committee. Adding to the complications is the looming state assembly elections, which have raised fears that a change in government could derail the entire process.

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It's been nearly five months since the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) members approved the managing committee to negotiate a deal with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding the Mahalaxmi racecourse. Still, the two parties are yet to finalize the terms of the agreement.

According to sources, the BMC/Government had sent an agreement to the RWITC committee, but some points of the agreement were not in line with the original terms discussed between the RWITC officials and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde last year. As a result, the RWITC has modified the agreement and sent it back to the BMC/Government for their approval, and they are now awaiting a response.

Meanwhile, BMC chief Bhushan Gagrani has been telling the media that the BMC will soon take over the racecourse, raising concerns among walkers, joggers, and especially the RWITC members. They say they haven't received any updates from the managing committee on the developments since they gave their nod on January 30.

The proposed deal states that 120 acres of the 211-acre racecourse would be converted into a garden/theme park, while the remaining 91 acres would be handed over to the RWITC for racing activities and a clubhouse.

RWITC members have expressed frustration over the managing committee's lack of communication and transparency regarding the negotiations with the BMC. They are worried that the terms being discussed may not be in accordance with what was promised by the former BMC chief, Iqbal Singh Chahal.

Moreover, given the upcoming state assembly elections, RWITC officials are growing concerned. They fear that a new government may take a different stance on the entire plan, potentially harming the club's racing and other activities if the BMC implements any changes at the racecourse.

The prolonged negotiations and lack of clarity surrounding the Mahalaxmi racecourse have created a sense of unease among all stakeholders. While the RWITC and the BMC work to finalize an agreement, the upcoming state assembly elections have introduced an additional layer of uncertainty. The fate of the racecourse, a beloved public space and the heart of Mumbai's racing community, now hangs in the balance, leaving the city's residents and RWITC members anxiously awaiting a resolution.

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