Maha U-turn: State for mill land as freebie

Friday, 8 February 2013 - 4:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Govt had promised the Centre land in suburbs in lieu of the 11-acre Indu Mill plot.

After having agreed to compensate the central government with land for having taken over a plot in the Indu mill compound in Dadar for  Ambedkar’s memorial, the state government is now trying to acquire it at no cost. A notification issued by the state about a fortnight ago mentions that it is seriously considering approaching the Centre for such a freebie.

The state is in the process of acquiring 11acres (4.8 hectares) of Indu Mill land worth Rs25,000 crore at Dadar from the Centre-owned National Textile Corporation to construct a memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The acquisition was spurred by political compulsion, with the state wanting to woo followers of Dr Ambedkar who had been making such a demand. At that time, the state had promised to swap the Dadar plot for land elsewhere in the suburbs.

A senior state official said that it the state was now realising that the swap deal may not be feasible due to technical issues involved.

“The Dadar mill was earmarked an industrial plot. Land swap deals cannot be done for such plots,” said the official. “And so the abrupt decision to seek it for free.”

However, if the government is serious about the memorial project, it will have to amend existing rules, said an expert on development plan rules that govern such issues.

A state official said that the project has started off on incorrect calculations which could spell trouble in future, leaving the memorial plan caught in a legal tangle for long. “The chief minister has been guided by people with little knowledge of such issues,” the official said.

The National Textiles Corporation has written to the state, subtly warning it not to take a hasty decision.

“We aren’t sure what exactly the state will do with the 11-acres mill land or how it plans to compensate us,” an official of the textile corporation told DNA.

Principal secretary of the state’s urban development department, Manu Kumar Srivastava, was not available for comment.


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