The money-minting gymkhanas in the city have got a shocker from the state government.
The revenue department has drafted a policy proposing that the lease rent paid by the gymkhanas be linked to the ready reckoner (RR) rate. It has been sent for the cabinet’s approval.
The RR broadly reflects the market rate. Thus, the gymkhanas will have to cough up several lakhs of rupees annually as opposed to the nominal lease amounts that they are paying now.
“These gymkhanas collect crores through membership fee. So, they should have no difficulty in paying the increased lease amount,’’ said an official of the revenue department.
Additional chief secretary (revenue and forests) Swadheen Kshatriya said the process of finalising the new lease rates would be fair and transparent. “Most gymkhanas occupy acres of prime land and yet pay meagre lease rent. By linking the lease amount to RR, we will generate additional revenue for the government,’’ he added.
Bombay Gymkhana, which occupies more than four acres of prime land in South Mumbai, has been paying an annual lease of Rs6,175 since 1885. As per the RR, it will have to pay a few crores a year.
Islam Gymkhana in Marine Drive, which has been paying Rs1,040 since 1890 will have to shell out a few crores. An official said the land for most of these gymkhanas was leased out during the British era for 90 years and above on a princely sum.
“We do not propose to cancel the lease when it expires but we want more revenue from the gymkhanas which mainly cater to the elite,’’ he said.
This has not gone down well with gymkhana office-bearers. “If this happens, then we will have to shut down the gymkhana. We are already paying additional revenue for letting out the premises,’’ said Yusuf Abhrani, vice-president of Islam Gymkhana.
Dr TP Lahane, dean of Grand Medical College to which the Grand Medical Gymkhana in Marine Drive belongs, said: “The government had leased out land in 1892 for 99 years at a monthly lease of Re1. It will be good if we are spared as ours is a state government institution.”