Union minister of shipping Nitin Gadkari on Thursday slammed the Indian Navy for what he said, creating obstacles for "development projects in Mumbai", including the plans for a floating jetty at Nariman Point and vowed not to give any land in South Mumbai to Naval projects henceforth.
His criticism of the Navy comes after the Bombay High Court declined permission to a private operator for building a jetty to launch seaplane services and a floatel since it did not get the necessary security clearance from the Indian Navy's Western Naval Command.
"Actually, what does the Navy have to do with Malabar Hill (in south Mumbai)…They should be guarding the borders of the country… 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 at a function where he laid the foundation stone for an international cruise terminal along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The remark was made at a public event in Mumbai in the presence of Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Girish Luthra
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.
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 and is therefore strategically important area where any development should be carried out only after assessing its strategic implications.