MUMBAI: MLA M P Lodha said on Friday that the decision to scrap the Malabar Hill reservoir reconstruction project tender means the green cover in the locality will not be affected. “I met the municipal commissioner on Friday and made a representation to him on the issue. It has been decided that the reservoir would not be demolished, instead it would only be repaired.A part of the gardens may be required during the repair works. However, this would not obstruct users of the gardens in a major way,” said Lodha.

In his letter to the commissioner, Lodha said, “There is a huge resentment in environment/walkers of Hanging Gardens and also public at large. We have time and again argued with technical support of experts that this heritage water tank can be repaired and need not be demolished. This matter is dragging for long time and I request you to scrap this tender and start process of repair of water tank wherever needed without breaking and cutting of trees, we also have to respect the walkers and users of Hanging Gardens, which is a rare open space left with us. Hope you will instruct accordingly.”
Meanwhile, local residents who had been fighting for this cause said they are “very positive” about the development.
“We are very happy that owing to our protest we were able to save 389 trees and also crores of taxpayers’ money. However, if not for the support of the local MLA, we would not have been successful at this,” said Dr Nilesh Baxi.
Malabar Hill resident Sarosh Bana said the MLA’s announcement lends legitimacy to their protests. “Finally, the authorities have seen reason in our protest. Anything done to the gardens would have only caused damage to the environment and upset people at large.”
However, Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Aaditya Thackeray posted on X: “It’s simply silly for a minister of an illegal regime who has occupied the @mybmc headquarters to write such request letters. This govt uses/ misuses powers for builders and contractors but for hanging gardens and such issues, they write letters when the people stand up to protest. It is only to subdue protest. Had it not been for the protest, it would be “Casa Hanging Gardens” standing there.”
Mumbai Congress president and newly elected Mumbai North-Central MP Varsha Gaikwad, too, took to X to post: “The government has finally had to bow down to citizens’ will & back off from the outrageous plan of demolishing the Malabar hill reservoir, thanks to our collective pressure. The guardian minister’s letter to the @mybmc administrator is nothing but an attempt to distance @BJMumbai & the government from this controversial move. But citizens can see through it…”