A section of Colaba residents have started a signature campaign in their area to protect themselves against the threat of ‘armaments’ and ‘missiles’ that are stored at the nearby INS Shikra – the naval base in Colaba.
The campaign has been started by My Dream Colaba, an NGO that works in the area. Its members are residents and a local independent corporator, who is actively supporting the move.
Ghanshaym Hegde, convenor of the NGO and local corporator Makarand Narwekar, who started the campaign, were informed about the presence of armaments at the naval base from a court order dated December 19, 2011. The writ petition was filed because a company seeking to redevelop land adjacent to INS Shikra, insisting that the corporation did not require a no-objection certificate from the defence establishment to begin work. It is during the hearing of this petition that the additional solicitor general representing the ministry of defence made the submission, which brought to attention the presence of weaponry at INS Shikra.
“We found out about the case during a casual conversation amongst lawyers in the high court. They asked us whether we were worried about the presence of armaments and missiles at the INS Shikra base,” claimed Hedge, who is a resident of Sayta Bhavan, which is two buildings away from the base.
“Right beside the naval base are slums, a municipal school and over 50,000 people living in the locality. Colaba houses some top industrialists, heritage buildings, and other prominent structures.
We understand that the security of the country is important but so is the safety of residential areas,” said advocate Makarand Narwekar, the local coporator who will be filing a PIL on the issue next month.
When contacted, Capt Manohar Nambiar, defence ministry PRO, asked for a questionnaire. He, however, did not get back with a reply.