|The melody queen's Peddar Road residence|
I WILL LEAVE
Lata Mangeshkar threatens to quit Mumbai if a flyover is built on Peddar Road
Subhash K Jha
queen Lata Mangeshkar has made up her mind to leave Mumbai for good.
If, that is, the state government goes ahead with its plan to build a
flyover on Peddar Road in south Mumbai, where the Mangeshkar family
owns an apartment.
On Friday, Public Works Department Minister Anil Deshmukh said the government has decided to push ahead with the project despite opposition from the Peddar Road Residents' Association. He said the Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation is in the process of sending project details for clearance to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and that the Rs 125 crore project would be completed in one-and-a-half years.
Peddar Road, which connects Haji Ali to Marine Drive, has been home to the Mangeshkars for close to 45 years and Lata said she can't imagine moving to any other place in Mumbai. 'There is no question of getting another residence for me and my family...also, there is no question of staying on in Peddar Road if the flyover happens. So, the best thing would be to leave quietly. I'll go anywhere...I'll move to my Pune residence or to my ancestral home in Kolhapur. But I won't stay in Mumbai. They want us to leave, so we shall,' she said.
Protests by Lata and her sister Asha Bhosle, another music icon, had led the government to do a rethink on the project in 2001. Will she raise her voice again? 'Unfortunately, they don't show any concern for us. Pura Peddar Road hil gaya hai. This road is very small. If there is a flyover, we are finished. We Mangeshkars stay on the first floor. We've somehow been putting up with the normal traffic sounds that seep into our house. It would be out of the question for us to stay on after the flyover is built,' Lata said.
She said just like other residents of the area, she has fond memories of Peddar Road. "Forty-five years is a very long time. I have for several years refused to move into a larger home in other localities. We Mangeshkars have always been happy staying in this small, cosy home. It may be small, but this is where we belong, This is where we've watched my brother's children grow up. Aagey ab kya hoga mujhe samajh nahin aa raha hai. Main to chod doongi Mumbai," Lata said.
She, however, added that it is not only about a Lata or a Asha. "Hundreds of residents will be affected if this flyover is built. There are schools, hospital'there's no one to speak up on our behalf. After all it's a Rs 4,000 crore rupee (sic) project. So who will listen to us?" she said
But the songstress has not yet given up the fight completely. "I rang up the chief minister. I am hopeful," she said.
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